Divorce can become a high priority issue in your life unexpectedly or after months (perhaps, even years) of marital problems. Either way, when you make the decision to activate this type of life change through the Wisconsin family court system, it sparks a myriad of issues that you must resolve before you and your spouse go your separate ways. If your relationship with your soon-to-be ex is more contentious than amicable, you might have your work cut out to achieve a fair and agreeable settlement.
As a parent, child custody issues will no doubt be a central focus of your divorce proceedings. Ending your marriage in court, of course, does not end your parental responsibilities, especially those involving finances to provide for your children’s needs. If you have reason to believe your spouse is trying to hide assets to walk away from settlement with more than what he or she is entitled to, you don’t have to take it lying down. The court can intervene to put a stop to the scheme.
You must be able to confirm the suspicion
Maybe you and your spouse often fight about money. In fact, it might be one of the leading factors that led to your decision to file for divorce. It’s one thing to think of your spouse as stingy, greedy or irresponsible with finances. It’s another to suspect that he or she is systematically trying to gain the upper hand in property division proceedings by hiding assets.
It’s unlikely that your spouse would have a written manual somewhere that provides instructions on how to hide assets in divorce. No two cases are exactly the same; however, there are signs that definitely warrant further investigation due to commonalities among past cases in Wisconsin and elsewhere. If you plan to file a formal complaint, you must gather evidence to substantiate your claim.
These red flag issues are cause for concern
If you believe your spouse is hiding assets, there are certain issues that would seem to confirm your suspicion. For instance, if money is missing from a bank account you jointly own and you were not aware of any withdrawals, it’s cause for concern. If your spouse recently opened a junior account for one of your children who is a minor, it might also be part of a hidden asset scheme.
When a parent’s name is on a junior account, it provides easy access to a bank account. A spouse can take money from one account and deposit it into the child’s account without raising suspicion at the bank. Other ways spouses often try to hide assets include overpaying on a credit card balance or income tax return. Has your spouse given a large amount of cash to a friend, claiming to be paying back a loan or providing one? It might be part of a scheme.
Should you confront your spouse?
You have every right to ask your spouse about missing money in a bank account or any issues that have caused you to suspect a hidden asset problem. It doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to get a truthful response, however. In fact, if you notice that your spouse appears overly defensive or agitated when you broach the topic, it might be another sign that there’s something going on.
It’s helpful to speak with someone who is well-versed in state laws regarding property division and hidden assets in divorce. Wisconsin is a community property state, which means assets are typically split 50/50 in divorce. By gathering evidence and seeking the court’s intervention, you can protect your rights and make sure you are not getting the short end of the stick when it comes time for the judge to divide your marital property.