Arons & Solomon Divorce Lawyers | July 17, 2023 | Divorce
New Jersey law requires each spouse to disclose all their assets and property during a divorce case. Unfortunately, some spouses do not want an equitable distribution of marital property. Instead, they want to keep more of the property for themselves.
As a result, they may try to hide assets during the divorce proceedings. If you suspect your spouse is hiding assets during a divorce in New Jersey, keep reading to find out what you can do to protect your right to fair property division.
Common Assets That Are Hidden or Forgotten in a Divorce Case
The first step in finding hidden assets is knowing what assets could be missing. Some assets are easier to hide than others. For example, hiding a piece of real estate titled in your name is difficult because of public records.
Common marital assets spouses try to hide during a divorce include:
- Municipal bonds
- Insurance policies and cash value
- Traveler’s checks
- Personal property, including jewelry, art, and collectibles
New Jersey is an equitable distribution state. Spouses must disclose all property so they can negotiate in good faith to divide their assets.
If the spouses cannot agree on property division, the court makes the decision based on what is fair and equitable, given the facts of the case. “Equitable” does not always mean a 50-50 split.
How Do Spouses Try To Hide Assets During a Divorce in New Jersey?
A spouse can hide assets during a divorce in New Jersey in many ways. For instance, a spouse might pay a phony debt with marital funds to someone who will give the money back to them after the divorce is finalized.
Your spouse might convert cash into something of value, such as a collectible they can sell. Sometimes, a spouse might purchase a high-ticket item with the intent of returning the item after the divorce for a refund.
Using a child’s account is a common way to hide money during a divorce. A spouse might not think to check the balances in the children’s accounts. After the divorce, the spouse who hid the cash withdraws it so that the amount decreases to what the other spouse expects.
If your spouse owns a business or has an interest in a business, you need to pay close attention to the associated books and records. Hiding personal assets within a business is another way spouses conceal assets during a divorce.
What Should I Do if I Suspect My Spouse Is Hiding Assets During a Divorce in New Jersey?
Tell your Bergen County divorce lawyer immediately about your suspicions. Your attorney can take several steps to discover hidden assets during a divorce.
For example, your lawyer may file a motion with the court compelling your spouse to turn over documentation for their business and all financial accounts if you believe your spouse has withheld information during discovery or the required financial disclosures. A forensic accountant can review the records for unusual or large transactions and concealed assets.
Your attorney may also hire a private investigator to search for hidden assets. Experienced investigators have resources and methods to uncover information that a spouse has tried to conceal or hide.
What Is the Penalty for Hiding Assets During a Divorce Case in New Jersey?
It is illegal to hide assets during a divorce in New Jersey. A spouse who is guilty of concealing assets can face one or more punishments from the court, including:
- Imposition of fines
- Serving jail time for fraud or perjury
- Allocation of more assets to the innocent spouse than initially planned
- Award the hidden assets to the innocent spouse
- Pay back money in a lump sum or through higher alimony payments
- Payment of the innocent spouse’s attorney’s fees and other expenses in tracking down the concealed assets
In addition to monetary or financial penalties and jail time, hiding assets can ruin your credibility with the court. The judge might wonder what else you are lying about in addition to the concealed assets. Additionally, lying about assets could invalidate a prenuptial agreement, which could drastically change the divorce terms.
Don’t Try To Find Hidden Assets on Your Own
Identifying and locating a spouse’s hidden assets can be challenging. Most individuals do not have the resources or skills to dig deep enough to find concealed assets a spouse is hiding. Working with an experienced Bergen County divorce attorney is the best way to ensure all steps are taken to uncover the money and property your spouse is trying to hide from you during a divorce.
Contact the Bergen County Family and Divorce Law Firm of Arons & Solomon Divorce Lawyers for more help
Contact the experienced family attorneys at Arons & Solomon Divorce Lawyers today for legal assistance. Visit our law office in Bergen County or give us a call at (201) 487-1199 to schedule a free consultation with our team.