Finding Hidden Income & Assets
Dec. 29, 2022
Dealing with divorce is never an easy process. There are many things to consider when filing for a divorce. From my experience, one of the most important aspects to consider is a fair division of assets. Unfortunately, there are times when one of the spouses hides assets from the other.
If you suspect your estranged spouse is hiding assets, discover your options by contacting my firm, Rieper Law P.C., today. I am a family law attorney with an abundance of information and practice when handling divorce matters. My firm proudly represents clients in Des Moines, Polk County, Dallas County, Warren County, Madison County, Jasper County, and Story County, Iowa.
Division of Assets in Iowa
In Iowa family courts divide marital assets under the concept of “equitable distribution.”
So, what does equitable distribution mean and does it necessarily mean an "equal" distribution?
The equitable division of assets refers to distributing assets fairly, not necessarily equally. The court decides who gets what based on the following circumstances:
Property acquired before or after the marriage
The property brought to the marriage
Who funded property acquired during the marriage (i.e., who paid for a house)
The length of the marriage
Age and health conditions of one or both spouses
It is also worth noting that spouses may agree to the division of assets before filing divorce papers. However, the court must sign off on the agreement.
Common Types of Hidden Income & Assets
A common practice is to hide assets during a divorce. This practice aims to avoid distributing assets to the other spouse. In other words, one or both spouses try to keep certain assets for themselves.
Here is a look at some common hidden assets during a divorce:
Property (such as homes, land)
Valuables (for example, jewelry, collectibles, antiques)
Financial investments (for instance, stocks and bonds)
Undisclosed income sources (i.e., businesses, side jobs)
During the divorce process, both spouses must disclose their assets and liabilities. However, some spouses may fail to disclose these assets when filing. If the assets are in the spouse’s name, it can be relatively easy to track them down.
Please note that some individuals may try to use clever means to hide assets. For instance, some individuals may attempt to hide assets by using offshore banking, placing property, cash, or investments in a trust, or using relatives as a cover for their property.
In such situations, the help of a professional divorce attorney can help uncover such practices. Therefore, anyone suspecting their spouse has hidden assets should enlist the help of an experienced family law or divorce attorney.
Uncovering Hidden Assets in Iowa
Uncovering hidden assets is not always simple. Doing so may take time and effort to find evidence. In some instances, evidence of fraudulent activity may be needed. For example, finding who is behind a trust can be quite difficult without some clue about its existence.
Nevertheless, a professional divorce attorney can help uncover hidden assets in Iowa. Here are some ways to uncover hidden assets:
Searching a spouse’s place of work for valuable cash or documentation.
Request to see income tax returns or financial statements.
Review bank statements for deposits and withdrawals.
Request a deposition of a spouse’s employer to reveal attempts to delay payments, bonuses, or making unregistered cash payments.
If the spouse is a business owner, they might make payments to non-existent employees.
Delay contract signings until after the divorce. This situation applies to employment contracts and business deals.
Finding solid evidence of these practices can be tough in some instances. Some documentation or depositions may be requested through litigation. In other cases, the services of a forensic accountant or private investigator to dig up evidence of hidden assets.
Finding the Right Divorce Attorney in Iowa
At Rieper Law P.C., I pledge to provide the best possible service. My team and I are prepared to deliver exceptional legal counsel with a human touch. We believe in putting people first to protect their rights. Call today to get in touch with a wise family law attorney. I proudly serve clients in Des Moines, Polk County, Dallas County, Warren County, Madison County, Jasper County, and Story County, Iowa.