In a North Carolina divorce, marital property is divided under the “equitable distribution” rule. This means the judge will order assets to be divided in a way that is fair and just for each spouse. Depending on the case, this could mean a 50/50 split, but for others, that isn’t always justifiable.
While many people comply with this order, some may try to hide their assets in an attempt to pay less in the divorce settlement. However, if you are caught, you may face severe repercussions. Essentially, the risk is not greater than the reward when it comes to hiding assets.
What are Hidden Assets?
The term “hiding assets” refers to one spouse attempting to conceal bank accounts, funds, real estate, or other valuable items from their spouse before or during the divorce proceedings. Typically, only assets that are considered marital property are hidden. Marital property includes any income, property, or debt that either party acquired during the length of the marriage.
Separate property, on the other hand, will not be hidden since those assets are not divided in a divorce. Separate property applies to the assets that a spouse received before they were officially married. It also includes any gifts or inheritances that were received at any point in the relationship.
How are Assets Hidden?
Assets can be hidden in various ways. Some common methods of hiding assets include:
Giving the money away to a friend or family member as a “gift” until the divorce is finalized
Failing to report their entire income during property division
Denying that they own the assets
Someone may try to hide assets because they want to keep what they believe to be rightfully theirs. For example, in cases where one party acquired more wealth than the other, that person may be required to pay alimony and child support at a rate that is based on how much income they make or own. To bypass this situation, they believe they can hide how much money they make so that they can keep more of it after the divorce.
The Impact of Hiding Assets
When a person chooses to hide their assets during a divorce, they can face legal consequences if they are discovered. A number of reprimands may take place, but the most common include:
Sanctions: A court can impose sanctions that can result in a penalty that requires you to pay a certain fee in addition to the original requirement.
Release Ownership: The judge can decide that you have to release your remaining assets to cover that which you sought to hide.
Additional Pay: It can also be ruled that you will have to make additional payments that can be double the monthly payments you currently make.
Arrest: In more serious cases, an arrest can be made depending on what was done to hide the assets.
Concerned That Your Spouse is Hiding Assets?
At Rech Law, we specialize in helping clients navigate the divorce process. If you know or are concerned that your spouse is hiding assets in your divorce, our Charlotte divorce attorneys can help you make sound decisions to protect your finances. We understand how difficult this situation can seem, but we have the experience and skills needed to fight for your best interests.
If you need an experienced property division lawyer, call Rech Law at (704) 659-0007 to set up a consultation.