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Finding hidden assets in a California divorce

Unfortunately, many people going through a California divorce will attempt to hide income and assets from their spouses in an attempt to prevent them from receiving their rightful portion in the property division. There are several ways in which a person typically tries to hide assets, all of which may require the help of a forensic accountant or investigator in order to track them down.

A person may transfer assets or money to a friend to hide them from their spouse. The idea is that once the divorce is final, the friend then transfers it back. Others may plan ahead for a divorce, withdrawing additional money on debit cards whenever they go shopping and then squirreling away cash over time. Some people withdraw money from a joint account and then open a new account in their name only. Others fail to disclose retirement accounts or stock options they have through their employers.

Spouses may try to hide assets in a sneaky manner, such as sending an overpayment to the IRS when filing taxes. They then instruct the IRS to apply the refund to the following year's taxes, allowing them to shield the money while using it to pay their own future tax bills. Business owners may create fake expenses, wait to send invoices to clients or purchase expensive artwork for their offices in order to hide money. Other spouses may ask employers to wait on giving them bonuses until after the divorce is final.

People should always carefully review their spouses' financial disclosure statements that are required to be provided as part of divorce proceedings. If they believe their spouse may be hiding assets, they may want to get the help of a family law attorney in order to ascertain the true extent of the couple's community property. A family law attorney may use the help of accountants and investigators in order to uncover hidden assets and protect a client's interests.

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