It is an unfortunate fact of divorce in California that sometimes a spouse will try to deliberately hide assets so they can gain an unfair advantage. In other cases, spouses will forget about assets or have difficulty locating them.
In any of these situations, it is helpful to call on a divorce attorney with experience uncovering hidden assets. At Holstrom, Block & Parke, APLC our team of Certified Family Law Specialists and associates knows how to identify hidden assets and we understand the most effective ways to ensure you receive the right share of property in your divorce.
What are Hidden Assets?
The term hidden assets refers to property or financial resources that one spouse does not disclose during a divorce. This can range from secret bank accounts and real estate investments or to valuable personal items and property cloaked by false transactions. Unfortunately, some spouses attempt to obscure assets to influence the division of property in their favor, which is why you need vigilant representation.
Types of hidden assets vary broadly, spanning from clandestine cash hoards to concealed business interests. They may include undisclosed life insurance policies, investments in cryptocurrency, or foreign holdings. Additionally, phantom income from a business, artwork, antiques, or any high-value collections kept secret are also regarded as hidden assets. When a spouse operates a business, they have opportunities to hide assets by paying salary to nonexistent employees, making payments that are later reversed, and a variety of other tactics.
California's Stance on Hidden Assets
Under California’s community property laws, assets accumulated during the marriage are deemed to be jointly held, regardless of who acquired them. This extends beyond obvious assets such as your residence or vehicles to include salary, investments, retirement funds, business interests, and more.
Efforts to achieve a fair division of property fail when a spouse chooses to covertly squirrel away assets. However, if the attempt at hiding assets is revealed to the court, judges can require that spouse to make restitution and there could be other legal consequences as well. Judges tend to take a dim view of fraud during the divorce process, so when you can uncover attempts to hide assets, a skilled attorney can use this knowledge to your advantage. Efforts to hide assets not only affect property division but also can also impact decisions on child support and alimony, so it is crucial to have an accurate accounting in divorce.
How We Can Help Uncover Hidden Assets
The experienced team at Holstrom, Block & Parke knows how to uncover attempts to hide assets to ensure a fair distribution of property. We investigate transactions, dig up records, and scrutinize everything to determine if assets are missing from accounts, and to locate and value those assets.
The process is intensive, particularly when one spouse owns a business. We look for assets hidden through means such as:
- Accounts that use a different name or social security number
- Gifts given to friends and family members who could be temporarily holding property with the intent to return it after the divorce
- Accounts opened in the name of a minor or other vulnerable individual
- Repayments of fake loans that will be returned after the divorce becomes final
- Fraudulent business expenses or concealed profits
- Overseas accounts
- Collectibles with an unusually high value
As experienced family law litigators, our team knows how to use strategic discovery tactics to uncover documents and information that can expose hidden assets. Skillful questioning often reveals valuable information about false loans and other suspicious transactions. We can also uncover evidence of assets depleted on an extramarital affair or other wrongful undertaking.
In addition, we work with seasoned professionals, including forensic accountants, expert property appraisers, and other niche specialists to delve into the complexities of your marital estate. Our approach is meticulous; we trace the monetary path, scrutinize every inconsistency, and question each inexplicable transaction to secure a just settlement that truly reflects your entitlements. We can uncover not only assets that were hidden intentionally but also those that may have been forgotten or misplaced over time.
Holstrom, Block & Parke Helps You Get the Assets You Deserve in Divorce
If you suspect your spouse may be trying to conceal assets during your divorce proceedings in California, you need to protect yourself. The sooner you act, the easier it may be to uncover hidden funds or other property.
We have the knowledge and experience to help. Reach out to us at Holstrom, Block & Parke today at (855) 395-5111 or contact us online to set up a consultation with a divorce attorney skilled at locating hidden assets and protecting your property interests.