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Assets in divorce: Now you see them; now you don't?

Provo, West Valley City and other Utah regions pretty much follow the rest of the nation when it comes to divorce. Even highly successful business people (like you, perhaps) go through the process. In fact, many currently face various challenges surrounding issues such as child custody and the protection of assets. The latter can be a major obstacle, especially if you suspect your soon-to-be former spouse of criminal behavior.

If you're convinced that portions of the marital assets went missing, you might find yourself in a situation familiar to many other spouses: your spouse intends to hide assets from you.

How to recognize financial infidelity when you see it

When you hear people speak about marital indiscretions, they're often referring to extramarital affairs. It's no secret that such clandestine relationships often play a crucial role in divorce. However, cheating financially plays another type of role during the planning stages of divorce or even after the process gets underway. Watch out for the following red flag signals:

  • New accounts that don't bear your name: If your soon-to-be ex suddenly opened new bank accounts when you've always had joint accounts, it doesn't exactly prove illicit activity, but it might prompt further investigation.
  • Money missing from a joint account: If you review the balance in a current joint account and realize one or more substantial withdrawals occurred without your knowledge, it might mean someone's up to no good.
  • Tax overpayment: This little trick also happens to be illegal if your spouse intends to keep money hidden from you during the divorce. Someone planning to divorce the next year would simply tell the Internal Revenue Service to hold a refund for the following year's tax payments. After the divorce goes through, he or she would receive a hefty refund.
  • Cash back at the register: Have you answered, "Yes" when a cashier asks if want cash back when you pay for your purchase? If your spouse does this every shopping trip, he or she might eventually build a substantial nest egg of hidden monies somewhere.

In addition, delaying incentive bonuses or commissions, as well as delaying a salary increase, along with other types of actions, should sound a big "hidden asset alarm" if you suspect this type of unlawful behavior. It's one thing to squabble over who will get to spend holidays with your children; it's quite another to face a spouse who commits a crime in order to keep you from getting what is rightfully yours.

Whether you spent years building a successful career for yourself, or gave all that up to stay home and raise your children, the law entitles you to fair asset division in a divorce. Utah subscribes to equitable property division, which means not everything results in a 50/50 split, but the court strives to divide the marital assets fairly. If you need help investigating a potential unlawful situation or would like to enter the courtroom with a skilled representative by your side, contact a family law attorney for support.

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