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Is money disappearing while you prepare for divorce?

If you’re one of many Virginia spouses who have recently decided to make a major life change, you no doubt have a lot on your mind, which may include financial issues. If the life change you’re planning involves filing for divorce, and especially if you have children, you might be experiencing a wide range of emotions regarding how to provide for your kids and ensure a financially stable future.

The last thing you need is a hidden asset problem. However, if you suspect that your spouse is trying to “beat the system” by hiding money or property, it’s a good idea to further investigate the issue before matters get worse. Questions to ask yourself are “Where should I look to uncover a hidden asset scheme?” and “What can I do about it?”

First things first — where to look for hidden assets

Every married couple’s financial history together is unique. Perhaps you and your spouse shared all bank accounts, income, spending money, etc. Then again, you might be one of many couples who kept all finances separate. Either way, you have a right to a fair divorce settlement and shouldn’t have to worry about your ex trying to keep you from getting what you’re entitled to in property division proceedings.

Spouses often use simple means for hiding assets. You might want to conduct a search around your home, including under mattresses, in drawers, closets, attics or between the pages of a book. Another common scheme is to convert cash to property by purchasing jewelry, artwork, luxury items or property, then understating its value when disclosing assets to the court.

Has your spouse taken money out of a shared bank account, claiming to be paying back a debt or lending cash to someone? This is definitely a red flag issue if you suspect a hidden asset problem in a divorce.

The court will not look favorably on a spouse who is hiding assets

The Virginia family court judge overseeing your property division proceedings expects both you and your ex to be honest and to fully disclose all assets and liabilities so that he or she can determine a fair split between you. Hiding assets in a divorce is illegal.

If you suspect that your ex is trying to get away with a hidden asset scheme, you can immediately bring the matter to the court’s attention. The court can hold someone in contempt for committing illegal acts regarding property division in a divorce.

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