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Tax season can reveal this culprit: the financially cheating spouse

Marital assets often come to the fore in a New Jersey divorce. Couples customarily worked long and hard to accumulate them, with each spouse understandably wanting to be treated fairly in the asset distribution process.

New Jersey law controlling divorce-linked property disposition mandates an “equitable” distribution of marital wealth. In a word, that translates to “fair.” What that means will differ among divorces. We note on our family law website at the Somerville Law Office of Rajeh A. Saadeh that impending former partners “may have widely different ideas about what should be included and how to split it.”

 

That is often to be expected, with some give and take featuring in discussions of assets that can range from a family home and business to various investment accounts and additional sources of wealth.

What is flatly off the charts in terms of acceptability, though, is spousal cheating motivated by the desire to conceal marital assets.

That unquestionably does occur in some decouplings, with wrongdoers seeking to hide or undervalue wealth in order to part with less of it in a final divorce settlement. And, of course, undetected financial infidelity makes for one-sided dissolution outcomes that unfairly favor one ex-spouse by leaving him or her with a grossly high share of wealth that was intended to be fairly apportioned.

A recent article from a national financial publication spotlights marital asset concealment, noting the various tactics wrongdoers engage in to hide property. Past tax returns are often fertile ground for evidence of illegal shielding. Underhanded accounting relevant to a family business might yield revealing information. Wrongdoers sometimes deposit wealth in offshore accounts, underreport earnings and bonuses, manipulate stock holdings, spend down cash on collectibles and engage in myriad other concealment strategies.

Divorcing spouses with questions or concerns regarding a partner’s possible shielding of marital assets might reasonably want to seek assistance from a family law attorney with proven experience handling divorce-tied property distribution matters.