Sheila Vierra, Attorney at Law, LLLC
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Are there hidden assets you need to locate for your divorce?

In many divorces, the most contentious issues relate to money and children. It is not uncommon for one spouse to attempt to hide significant assets from the other. The motivation is almost always keeping them out of the courts when you divorce. If your divorce is contentious and your spouse is angry, you should consider the possibility that there could be assets that you don't currently know about.

These kinds of issues aren't just for the extremely wealthy. There are opportunities for middle-class spouses to hide assets as well. Understanding some of the common ways unscrupulous spouses hide assets during a divorce can help you locate any potential hidden assets in your house and from your marriage.

Hidden cash stockpiles are common

If you notice that your spouse regularly withdrew cash from your bank account without providing an explanation or receipts, that could mean hidden cash funds. The same is true of regular cash withdrawal when shopping with a debit card. Sometimes, if a person knows the marriage is likely to fail in the near future, building up an emergency stockpile of cash seems like a good idea. Unfortunately, if it is done before anyone files for divorce, it is also intentionally hiding assets. Unless there's a prenuptial agreement in place, this could impact the asset division process.

Hawaii's divorce laws call for an equitable distribution of marital assets. That means any assets or income acquired during your marriage are subject to division during divorce. The courts typically frown on stockpiling cash with the intention of preventing your spouse from accessing it in a divorce. The same thing is true for accounts where your spouse deposited funds acquired during your marriage without your knowledge.

Collections and personal possessions could hold great value

Although gifts and inheritances are generally not divided by the courts, possessions acquired by purchase during the marriage are. There could be many valuable items in your home that you overlook because you do not know their value. Does your spouse collect memorabilia, spots cards or fine art? Does he or she fix up and drive vintage vehicles? Collections can be a great place to hide a lot of value, especially if you hope to avoid having your spouse ask for certain assets.

Those who build massive collections of valuable possessions during marriage do so with the hope of keeping them. However, you should work with a professional to value of those collections. This allows you to create a more accurate inventory of your assets and debts, ensuring that the final division of assets is fair and takes all of your valuables into consideration. Your spouse can keep that collection, but you should receive assets of a similar value in turn.

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