The legal proceedings of a divorce can be stressful, even when both sides are following the rules. When one spouse is being deceptive during the process, it can make things even more complicated and emotionally overwhelming.
State laws dictate how property should be divided during a divorce. If you believe your partner is trying to hide marital property that you may be entitled to, look for some of these signs your spouse is hiding material assets. While these indicators may not prove that assets are hidden, it is worth documenting any warning signs so that you can discuss them with your attorney.
It can be hard to identify hidden assets if one spouse controls the finances more than the other. The spouse who suspects the property is hidden should take steps to track and catalog as much information as they are able to for their own records, and to share with their divorce attorney.
One major red flag for hidden assets is large sums of money being suddenly withdrawn from bank accounts. The spouse who is removing the money may be trying to store it somewhere they think their partner won’t find it, such as in trust accounts, other banks, or even through cryptocurrency. They may hide it with a friend or under their friend’s name with the expectation that they can collect it again after the divorce is finalized.
A spouse who is hiding assets may also move some items from the house to store away out of sight, such as in a rented storage unit. If cars, antiques, or other valuable items are suddenly unaccounted for, the deceptive partner may try to claim they were sold or otherwise disposed of when, in actuality, they are just hidden.
If a spouse does not willingly disclose all their assets during a divorce proceeding, the other party’s attorney may subpoena the spouse’s financial institutions and other organizations that will have records of what property exists and where it is. The spouse will also need to explain where any “missing” assets are if the court is notified of property that cannot be located.
Because family law matters are heavily state-dependent, a person going through a divorce in Georgia will need to understand and follow Georgia laws.
Georgia is a “marital property” state. This means not all property will automatically be divided equally. Marital assets are generally those that are jointly owned by both spouses or came into their possession during the marriage.
It is illegal in Georgia for a spouse to hide assets from their partner during a divorce. State law also expressly prohibits either party from selling or transferring assets after a petition for divorce has been filed, with few exceptions. Additionally, because Georgia statutes require each person to submit financial statements and disclose property, omitting assets to keep them from a spouse can be considered perjury. Penalties for committing perjury include fines up to $1,000 or even imprisonment.
Even without criminal charges attached, hiding assets during a divorce can negatively affect what a person can receive or what they may have to pay to their soon-to-be-ex spouse.
Hiding marital property during a divorce is illegal in Georgia. If you believe there are signs your spouse is hiding material assets from your divorce proceedings, you should talk to an experienced divorce attorney. Our team can help you handle the process of discovery to get an accurate accounting of your marital property and uncover hidden assets so you can get what you are owed in your divorce.