Property division is an important aspect of the divorce process in West Virginia. Each spouse has the right to receive an equal share of the martial estate. However, some spouses try to hide assets in the process or misrepresent the amount of funds available for division. Hiding marital assets in unethical and illegal, and the following list some ways a spouse can use to determine if the other spouse is trying to hide assets.
Identify marital assets
Uncovering hidden assets can be challenging. However, it is important to ensure a spouse receives his or her fair share of the marital estate. Some items to consider include the following:
- Red flags — If the spouse gets upset or even violent at the mention of possible hidden assets, that could be an indication of wrongdoing. Conversely, a spouse may assure the other that everything is okay and all funds are present and accounted for.
- Look in hiding spots — An unscrupulous spouse may open a separate bank account under his or her name only or may stash funds in another location.
- Titles, deeds and other documents — A spouse may try to remove the other spouse from important documents that establish just one spouse as the owner of specified assets. Spouses should review all financial account documents and other material and take pictures of the documents as proof, if needed.
- Paying too much in taxes or paying ahead on debt — A spouse may pay taxes in advance in the hopes of getting the money back on their return. He or she may also “loan” money to friends or family in order to keep the money out of the division process.
There are other methods spouses can use in West Virginia to hide marital assets. Those who feel their spouse is hiding marital funds should reach out to a family law attorney for help. A lawyer can help a client uncover hidden assets and work to hold the other party accountable for their actions.