7 ways people try to hide assets

Your spouse needs to offer full disclosure of all assets during the divorce, but you worry that he or she is going to try to hide some assets from you. After all, your spouse has always been in charge of the family finances. The divorce filing did not exactly put you on the best of terms, and you think your spouse may be interested in getting back at you in whatever way is possible -- even if it is illegal.

If so, watch out for these seven ways that people try to hide assets:

1. Investing in Bitcoin

Bitcoin investments can prove hard to trace. Your spouse can make them with nothing but a smartphone. This may pull money out of your bank account or even off of a credit card, stashing it away.

2. Buying excessive gift cards

This is just a simple way to reduce the amount of money in the bank account. The charges get lumped together on credit card statements if your spouse buys the gift cards at a grocery store. He or she hides the cards away to use or sell after the divorce.

3. Failing to report income

Your spouse pulls cash out of the bank, then reports that earnings were down this year. Income tax documents may expose this lie, unless your spouse also lies on the taxes.

4. Paying too much in taxes

Speaking of taxes, your spouse could overpay the IRS. The money eventually gets returned. With the right timing, this means the IRS holds the money during the divorce, then sends it back after it gets finalized. It looks like your spouse has less than he or she really does.

5. Transferring assets to family members

Family members may join in on the scheme and agree to take these new "gifts" or "loans." With money and other assets in their hands during the divorce, you do not get your share. Then they just give those assets back to your ex after the divorce case ends.

6. Hiding assets that are difficult to find

Financial assets are often a bit easier to trace, especially with online banking records. Your spouse may try to hide away assets like artwork, which are much harder to locate. This still changes the value of all of the assets your family holds, cutting you out.

7. Buying items and then returning them

In some cases, your spouse may start making expensive purchases, hoping you do not notice that the money is gone and never telling you about those purchases. After the divorce, he or she can return the items and get the money back.

If you do think your spouse is hiding assets, make sure you know exactly what options you have.

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