Embarrassment a roadblock to uncovering hidden assets
Many victims of hidden assets fail to pursue a fair deal because of humiliation
For most couples, divorce marks the end of a romantic relationship. In the eyes of the law, however, divorce is also the end of a financial partnership. Whenever a couple divorces, a court will have to ultimately decide how that couple’s marital property will be divided. In order for the property to be divided fairly, it is imperative that the court knows the value of the couple’s estate, especially in complex divorces. However, as CNBC recently reported, financial deceit among spouses is surprisingly common and could ultimately be leading to greater instances of hidden assets during divorce. Furthermore, experts say that when victims of such fraud learn about the deceit, they are often too embarrassed to try to right the wrong done to them.
Spouses lying about money
The poll, conducted by CreditCards.com, found that 20 percent of Americans have hidden a large purchase of $500 or more from their spouse. Furthermore, 7.2 million Americans admit that they have or have had a bank account or credit card that their spouse or partner did not know about.
Although the poll only looked at financial infidelity within marriage, it stands to reason that once people get divorced they aren’t likely to suddenly become more honest about their finances with one another. A spouse trying to hide assets is a problem that family courts across the nation are trying to deal with, especially in complex divorces where there tend to be more opportunities to conceal assets.
However, as Forbes reports, one of the problems in combating and even understanding the scope of the problem is that many victims of this type of fraud are too embarrassed to come forward. A person going through a divorce, for example, who suddenly learns that her ex-spouse has been hiding a bank account during throughout marriage may feel humiliated that she did not catch on to the deceit earlier.
Experts note that this feeling of embarrassment keeps many wronged ex-spouses from pursuing a fair deal for themselves. Some victims, for example, may choose to ignore the problem or try to convince themselves that the deceit was unintentional or relatively minor. This attitude is important to overcome when trying to come to a fair division of marital property. Furthermore, what seems to be at first only a minor instance of concealed assets during a divorce could, with proper professional assistance, prove to be just the tip of the iceberg of a much larger case of fraud.
Protecting one’s rights during a divorce is of paramount importance. Family law, however, is highly complex and takes years of experience and education to fully understand and master. As such, anybody currently involved in a divorce should reach out to a qualified family law attorney. The right attorney can use his considerable expertise to represent the rights and best interests of his clients during what is otherwise a difficult and challenging time in their lives.