There are many ways a spouse might conceal assets and the ways vary greatly with the individuals involved. In an attempt to hide assets, a spouse may involve the help of a family member or a close friend and often these individuals are unaware they are being involved in a scheme to hide assets. Another method of hiding assets is to place the asset such as investment certificates or other personal items into a safety deposit box in the name of a family member or close friend.
A spouse might conceal assets in plain sight by paying down a mortgage, credit card balances or other liabilities. Also, a spouse may make repayments on a phony debt to a family member or a close friend which at first glance may appear to be a legitimate debt. Gifts to a boyfriend or girlfriend, such as travel expenses, rent payments or tuition payments may at first glance may appear to be legitimate expenses. Additionally, assets may be transferred into the name of a family member, close friend or even a corporate entity.
Custodial accounts can be established by a spouse under a child’s name and social security number. A spouse may even transfer assets into pension accounts, profit-sharing accounts, a trust or a 401K account in an attempt of hiding assets from the opposing spouse. Also, a spouse may give cash or other assets to a family member or close friend to hold until the divorce is finalized.
A spouse who owns a business may use the business to conceal assets by not recording cash receipts or by paying a non-existing employee. Additionally, the value of a business before the divorce can be lowered by delaying the signing of a contract for goods or services until after the divorce is final.
The Florida Family Rules of Procedure require full and honest disclosure of all assets and liabilities of the parties both non-marital and marital and the court will tolerate nothing less. Should a spouse be found to have committed a fraud up the court, that spouse may be subject to sanctions and if the final judgment has already been entered when the violation is discovered, the case can be reopened.