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Spouses and Divorce: the Many Ways to Hide Marital Assets and Income

Drew Duncan
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Partner at Zimmer, Duncan and Cole, LLP

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In South Dakota, all real estate and other assets acquired during the marriage are considered part of the marital estate and are divided equitably in a property settlement between the parties. However, some spouses who are considering divorce or believe their spouse may file could try to hide assets and income. While it is unethical and illegal to do this, it is a common practice for some people who are facing divorce.

Common Ways Spouses Attempt to Hide Assets and Income

In many families, it can be difficult to keep track of all the income and assets—such as real estate, bank accounts, stocks, mutual funds, and retirement accounts. A spouse can take advantage of his partner’s ignorance of these matters and try to hide income and assets. If you are contemplating divorce or in the middle of divorce proceedings, here are ways people may try to hide their financial resources:  

  • Unreported income on income tax returns and other financial statements
  • Cash converted to traveler’s checks
  • A custodial account for a child with the spouse as the account holder
  • Purchase of certificate “bearer” accounts or savings bonds
  • Side deals with employers to delay salary increases, bonuses, and stock options until it no longer matters in the divorce
  • A phony debt repayment agreement with a friend or family member
  • Unknown retirement or bank accounts
  • Money stashed in a safety deposit box or hidden in the home
  • Overpayment of debts to creditors or to the IRS
  • Personal expenses being paid through a business to decrease income
  • Payment of salary or other types of income to non-existent employees
  • Assets of the business transferred to friends or relatives for no legitimate reason

If you suspect your spouse is hiding income or assets, you need an experienced divorce attorney to help you locate them. At Zimmer, Duncan & Cole, LLP, we’re here to help you locate all of your marital income and assets and will fight to help you obtain a fair property settlement. Call us today at 888-733-2992 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.


Category: Family Law


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