A recent article discussing marital wealth sought to be hidden by a bad-faith spouse in divorce proceedings refers to the game of "now you see it, now you don't."
We also spotlight that game -- an eminently serious and high-stakes affair in many decouplings marked by significantly outsized assets -- on our New Jersey family law website at The Law Office of Rajeh A. Saadeh in Somerville. We simply call it "hide-and-seek."
The hiding part is well-chronicled in divorce annals, with there being no dearth of stories highlighting spousal attempts to keep marital property out of the view and reach of an innocent spouse. A manipulative soon-to-be ex can employ the help of sophisticated partners well versed at burying assets in private investment vehicles, rental properties, secret bank accounts, offshore companies and more.
Shielding marital wealth in a divorce is more than ethically wrong. It is also flatly illegal, given the judicial mandate that such assets need to be fully identified, valued and fairly distributed between separating spouses.
Wrongdoers know that, with many of them willing to take a chance that their ploys to disguise assets will remain undetected.
In many instances, and especially in cases where spouses who suspect wrongdoing enlist the help of an experienced asset-tracing attorney, that assumption is proven wrong. There are many tested techniques and strategies for uncovering hidden sources of wealth (including the legal discovery process) that an aggressive family law attorney knows how to employ. Moreover, success in uncovering hidden assets is often enhanced through counsel's collaboration with trusted third parties such as valuation experts and accountants.
A party suspecting that an impending former partner has taken steps to shield marital assets in a divorce proceeding can reach out to a seasoned high-asset divorce attorney for guidance and diligent legal representation.