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Marital Property Division

Look out for Hidden Assets in the Property Division Process

Not every spouse in Los Angeles acts fairly in a divorce. Sometimes, out of greed or spite, one spouse may try to hide assets to keep the other spouse from obtaining them during the property division process. This may be especially true when one spouse is self-employed as a small business owner. So, what signs should a person look out for if they believe their spouse is hiding assets?

Sometimes, a couple would enjoy a very comfortable lifestyle while married, only to have one spouse suddenly claim that they have experienced a significant loss of income. One sign that this is taking place is if their personal expenses are being paid for by their business. By doing so, they won't be receiving a paycheck, allowing them to claim that they have not earned any income. Similarly, this can make it look like the business is not profitable, which could affect its value for property division purposes.

Another sign to look out for is if a person claims they experienced a significant drop in income around the same time that the couple's marriage began falling apart. Similarly, a spouse might suddenly significantly decrease their spending or even sell off luxury items to make it seem like they are going broke. This could make it look like they have nothing, which could give them the upper hand when it comes to property division.

A third sign to look out for is if a spouse drags their feet when it comes to providing the necessary financial records for property division purposes or if they refuse to allow their business to be valued. The purpose of these acts may be to make it so the other spouse becomes financially tapped out, which could make it so that that spouse is willing to settle for less money.

In the end, spouses should make sure they keep an eagle eye on their finances and assets prior to and during the divorce process. It is important to catch spouses who are hiding assets to keep the property division process fair. An attorney may be able to help a spouse uncover hidden assets.

Source: Forbes, "If Your Husband Owns A Business, Watch Out For SIDS (Sudden Income Deficity Syndrome) Once Divorce Proceedings Start," Jeff Landers, Oct. 10, 2013