One of the uncomfortable parts of divorce is sorting out your marital assets and property. Whether you’ve been married for one year or for 20 years, in South Carolina each spouse has the right to an equitable division of property. If your divorce is uncontested and amicable, you and your spouse may be able to agree on splitting assets and simply enter your agreement into the court for review. However, if this isn’t the case, you may need to retain legal help.
During the divorce process, you and your spouse must determine issues like child support, custody, and alimony. These matters can become contentious on their own, but if you’re involved in a high-asset divorce, you must have a thorough understanding of what’s separate property and what’s marital property. And, more importantly, you should know how to spot any potentially hidden marital assets to ensure you are treated fairly in the asset division process.
Concealing assets in a divorce is illegal
Some individuals may attempt to hide certain assets and property from the court to prevent them from being divided as marital property in a divorce. Understand this is not only dishonest and unfair – it’s also against the law. If you suspect your future ex-spouse is attempting to conceal assets, look for some of these common red flags. Not only can you ensure your divorce is honest and equitable, you may also prevent a crime from being committed.
Warning signs of hiding assets and property include:
- Gifting or giving away valuables. One way to hide or conceal assets until a divorce is finalized is to give away the items. Sometimes people will gift valuables like jewelry, antiques or art to family and friends until asset division is settled and divorce papers are filed – only to have the items gifted back to them later.
- Increased cash but decreased paycheck. If your spouse suddenly has a lot of pocket cash, but a lower paycheck or bank account, they may be attempting to hide money by having their employer pay them off-books or under the table. This way their paycheck doesn’t reflect their true wages and they don’t have to report that income to the court.
- Sudden expensive purchases. “Converting cash to property” is a way to conceal assets by purchasing valuable items and property with cash, and then understating their real value during asset division. Once the divorce is finalized, the individual sells the assets or property back at its original value, converting it back to cash.
Divorce can be a challenging process, and hidden assets might be the last thing on your mind. However, as experienced divorce attorneys, we know that the smartest way to protect yourself and your children during divorce proceedings is to go in feeling prepared and confident. We can help ensure you receive your equitable share of marital assets.
The family law attorneys at Holland Law provide strong legal guidance with all your divorce matters, including asset and property division. Talk to us today for personalized representation. To schedule a consultation in either our Fort Mill office on Gold Hill Road, or in our Rock Hill office on Oakland Avenue, please call 803-288-3885 or contact us. We serve clients in the York, Lancaster, and Chester County communities.
Tom Holland previously served as the General Counsel for the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office, the City Solicitor for the City of Lancaster, and as a Special Assistant United States Attorney for the Sixth Circuit Solicitor’s Office. He is a single father, and through his own divorce gained valuable insight he now uses to represent Fort Mill and Rock Hill, SC families with the best representation. Learn more about Tom Holland.