As you and your husband, wife or registered domestic partner start the process of obtaining a California divorce, (s)he may begin exhibiting behaviors that lead you to suspect that (s)he may be trying to hide marital assets from you in order to enhance his or her own post-divorce financial situation. This could be especially true if you and (s)he have accumulated a good deal of high-value assets during the course of your marriage.
Unfortunately, marital asset hiding is a frequent occurrence in high-asset divorces. It represents a type of financial fraud that you could find difficult to prove without the help of a forensic accountant.
Financial fraud red flags
Given that your spouse is a human being, (s)he likely will do things that tip you off that (s)he could be hiding assets. Some red flags that warn you of his or her illegal activities include the following:
- (S)he stops confiding in you.
- (S)he starts getting snail mail from people or businesses with whom you are unfamiliar.
- Alternatively, (s)he stops receiving snail mail at home, strongly implying that (s)he has given your local post office a change of address form.
- (S)he gets mysterious calls on his or her cellphone and speaks cryptically to the calling party.
- You discover that (s)he now has a secret paramour.
Few asset-hiding spouses have the ability to accomplish their illegal purposes all by themselves. Most need accomplices to carry out their plans. Unfortunately, all of the following people can fit this description:
- His or her relatives
- His or her business associates and/or employees
- His or her good friends
- His or her paramour if you discover (s)he has one
While you should not let your imagination run wild with unfounded fears that your spouse is in the process of hiding assets from you, you nevertheless should remain vigilant to indications of that possibility.