Some people may hide assets during a divorce, however, there are things people can do in order to uncover concealed marital property.
As of 2011, the divorce rate in Minnesota was 3.3 for every 1,000 marriages, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Intervention. For some, the division of their marital property is the most contentious aspect of the process. While the assets that couples share are divided in accordance with the principle of equitable distribution, some people may be concerned they will not receive what they feel they are entitled to. Consequently, they may hide assets to keep them out of the property division process. However, there are ways to turn up hidden assets during Minnesota divorces.
Analyze living expenses
Forbes magazine suggests that people who are concerned about hidden assets analyze their families' monthly expenses and compare them to their sources of income. In some cases, their living expenses may exceed their known income. Unless couples in these situations have debts that account for these differences, it may signal that one spouse or the other has hidden assets.
Check employment documentation
Sometimes, people may collude with their employers to shield assets that should be considered marital property. For example, they may hold back commissions, wait to sign contracts or push back bonuses until their divorces are finalized. Once the process is complete, these assets may be considered personal property instead of shared property. By looking at their spouses' employment documentation, people may identify signs their spouses have taken such steps.
Examine tax documents
Tax returns can be a helpful source of information when looking for concealed assets. People should go through these documents to ensure the correct amounts are reported and paid. According to Business Insider magazine, some people underreport their income because it cannot be used to determine spousal or child support awards if it is not reported. By the same token, some people may overpay on their taxes in an effort to hide assets. If they receive a refund after their divorces are finalized, they will be able to keep it instead of allowing those funds to be subject to the property division process.
Look out for purchases
Prior to or during a divorce, people may make expensive purchases to conceal assets. For instance, some may buy costly antiques and others may add to their coin, art or stamp collections. If their spouses do not realize how much these items cost or that they were purchased, they may neglect to see them included when dividing their marital assets. As such, their partners may be able to keep or sell them after their divorce is finalized in order to recoup those funds. Therefore, it is advisable that people keep an eye on their bank accounts and their soon-to-be former spouses' spending habits.
Working with an attorney
Due to the emotions at play at the end of marriages in Minnesota, people may be more concerned with what they feel they deserve than they are with what is fair and equitable. This may complicate negotiations and draw out the process. Therefore, those who are considering a divorce may find it helpful to obtain legal representation. An attorney may help them uncover assets their former partners have hidden, as well as guide them through the legal process.