Current technology provides spouses with sneaky new ways to hide marital assets
State laws dictate how courts will divide marital assets, but generally, states are either community property states or equitable distribution states. Florida is an equitable distribution state, meaning courts consider multiple factors when they divide marital property. The court cannot make a fair and accurate determination of how property should be divided if one spouse fails to disclose assets.
Divorcing spouses often have opposing points of view regarding the division of marital assets. Often, one spouse feels like they are entitled to keep some assets entirely for themselves, and rather than disclose their existence to a court, they try to hide assets.
In 1996, a California woman won $1.3 million in the lottery and filed for divorce 11 days later. She successfully kept her winnings a secret during her divorce case, but in 1999, her ex-husband discovered her lottery winnings. When her nondisclosure came to light, a California court awarded all of the woman’s lottery winnings to her husband. This is just one example of how hiding marital assets in a divorce can backfire.
The willful nondisclosure of assets in a divorce is completely illegal, and it often results in the other spouse being awarded the full amount of the hidden assets. Despite the risk, people still hide marital assets from their spouses in an attempt to keep their spouse from getting any portion of the asset. Many learn the hard way that hiding assets in a divorce risks losing those assets entirely, yet people still try to come up with new high tech ways to hide assets.
Technology makes it easier to hide assets. Deals can be brokered online without the other spouse being the wiser. Money can be transferred and deposited into secret accounts without leaving an actual paper trail. Every day people are using technology to conceal assets, but technology is a double edged sword. The high tech ways that make it easy to conceal assets also make discovering those assets even easier.
For example, a husband might set up a pay pal account to hide money from his wife, but his browser history will quickly reveal this secret. Even if someone believes they are concealing their activities by clearing their browsing history, there is often an email or a text message that can lead to the account.
But beware. Just as hiding assets during a divorce is illegal, many of the high tech means of discovering hidden assets are also illegal. Even if your spouse is in the wrong, you may be in violation of a state or federal law for utilizing illegal methods to uncover hidden assets. If you suspect your spouse is hiding assets, call the skilled Tampa divorce attorney at the Law Office of Mark G. Rodriguez. Hiring an experienced Tampa divorce lawyer ensures you receive every penny you are entitled to. Contact us today for a free initial consultation at (813) 227-9642 or online.