Understanding The Legal Process

When Your Spouse Is Hiding Assets Through Their Business

by Eli Gregory

If you are getting divorced and your spouse has a business, there are several ways they could be hiding assets through it. You should be aware of the red flags that they are doing this, and what you can do if they are being dishonest with you.

General Signs of Spousal Dishonesty

You should be suspicious if your soon-to-be ex will not answer your questions about finances or is intentionally vague. Especially if they tell you not to worry, that they'll make sure you are taken care of.

You may also be rightly concerned if assets such as balances in your shared bank accounts and brokerage accounts have shrunk, and you find out you have less equity in your home than you remember being there. Your ex could be transferring assets to a new account solely under their name or under a friend's name.

Ways to Hide Assets through a Business

Some common ways that a business can hide assets include:

  • Inflating the payables (expenses) that the business has to pay and writing off the receivables (income) temporarily that the business should be receiving. One way your mate could be purposely deflating the appearance of income is by encouraging customers or clients to pay for services/products with cash by giving discounts,  and then not recording some or all of the income in their account records.
  • Enlisting friends and relatives as false employees and paying them salaries which would later be repaid to the spouse after the divorce.
  • Putting off a lucrative deal until later and possibly enlisting a business partner to help keep the information from you.
  • Buying new furniture, office furniture or equipment to inflate expenses and use these later to claim depreciation when filing taxes.
  • Trying to claim some of the resources of the business were part of it before the marriage and therefore are pre-marital assets.

What You Can Do

If the business is big and complicated, it would be wise to hire a forensic accountant to investigate. These professionals are trained to note discrepancies and irregularities; plus, they would be able to ascertain what percentage of assets were acquired before and after your marriage.

You will need to hire a family law attorney as soon as you decide to divorce. An attorney can arrange for financial discovery, and hire a private investigator to uncover information if needed as well as use other strategies to protect your interests. Visit Karp Law Offices for more information.