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Watch out for signs your ex is hiding assets in divorce

When a couple in Los Angeles shares a joint bank account, there may be disagreements on how that money should be spent. It may be tempting for one spouse to hide a purchase from the other spouse. In fact, according to one study, three out of every 10 adults have admitted to doing so. Similarly, sometimes a person opens a financial account, such as a credit card, behind their spouse's back. This also is not unusual -- the aforementioned study reports that around 7.2 million people in the United States have a credit card or bank account their spouse does not know about.

Fights about money often lead up to divorce, and can continue throughout the divorce process. Therefore, it pays to keep a close eye on your finances when it comes to divorce to ensure your ex isn't hiding assets from you when it comes to property division.

In a divorce, each spouse is legally required to list all his or her assets. However, many spouses try to conceal some of their property so that they do not have to share it with their soon-to-be ex.

One way a spouse can hide assets is to simply move them from a jointly-held bank account to an individually-held bank account. Another way a spouse can hide assets is to give them to a friend. This can be done in small increments over an extended length of time, making it more difficult to detect. It may also be able to conceal assets through a life insurance policy. Spouses might also try to purchase big-ticket items with the intention of selling them once the divorce is completed.

Moreover, assets can be hidden by paying more than what is owed in taxes to the Internal Revenue Service, with instructions to apply the extra payments the next year. This way the assets will not be included in a financial account. Some spouses may also try to delay a large payment, such as a commission, until after the marriage has ended, so that their spouse does not receive a portion of these assets. Another way a spouse might hide assets is to falsify business expenses. These false expenses will then be included in the write off on that spouse's income taxes, showing that the spouse has earned a smaller profit.

A skilled divorce attorney can investigate financial improprieties to uncover hidden assets and help you reach a fair settlement in your divorce.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Be Smarter: 8 Ways Your Spouse Can Hide Assets Before A Divorce," Roxana Maddahi, April 20, 2016

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