The financial aspects of a divorce can linger on for many Connecticut couples long after the practical issues have been settled and the romantic relationship is over. However, when there is a wealth disparity within the marriage, one party may be tempted to “protect” some assets from the other spouse outside of the framework of the law. Equitable distribution means that not every asset will be divided directly in half. Nevertheless, some spouses, whether motivated by greed or a desire for revenge, continue to hide assets in order to prevent them from being included in the divorce settlement.

In many cases, the higher-earning partner in a marriage may have much higher levels of knowledge and control about family finances. This means that the other spouse may be at a serious disadvantage when it comes time to negotiate property division in a divorce. They may be relying on the spouse’s claims and assertions. It can be important for both spouses to have full access to all financial paperwork and independently investigate claims about accounts, investments and other properties.

There are some warning signs that can indicate that a spouse is hiding assets. Some might overpay a creditor, a bank or the IRS and then ask for a refund after the divorce has been settled. Others may suddenly start investing in art, antiques or other items of which it may be difficult to obtain a clear valuation. Still others may note sudden closures or large withdrawals from accounts stretching back with no explanation of where the funds went.

Hiding assets in a divorce violates the law, and spouses can be held accountable in court and even penalized financially. A family law attorney can help a divorcing spouse advocate for their interests and achieve a fair settlement on property division and other appllicable legal issues.