What happens if you discover your spouse has hidden assets?

On Behalf of | Dec 13, 2022 | Divorce

The longer you stay married, the more property and debts you share with your spouse. Under Virginia’s marital property laws, everything that you earn or acquire while married is usually marital property.

In the event of a divorce, you and your spouse either agree on your own regarding how you divide your property or you ask a judge to apply the state’s equitable distribution statute to your household. Both you and your spouse have an obligation to provide honest and thorough records to one another and the courts during the property division process.

What happens if you uncover hidden property that your spouse did not disclose as they should?

You can advise the courts of their misconduct

Intentionally hiding assets is a common form of misconduct during Virginia divorces. People think that they can lie about their financial accounts or physical property, or they intentionally undervalue assets so that their spouse doesn’t receive their fair share of the marital property.

When you, your attorney or a financial professional uncover hidden assets, you can present information about those assets to the courts. A judge will consider that misconduct when dividing your remaining property. Often, hiding assets will lead to a judge punishing the spouse who attempted to do so by diminishing what they ultimately receive from the marital state.

What if you uncover assets after the divorce?

Sometimes, people learn after their divorce proceedings that their spouse hid major assets, like a six-figure retirement account or real property. Provided that the assets are valuable enough, it may be worthwhile for those deprived of their fair share of marital assets to go back to court.

A family law judge could potentially revise property division settlements to reflect those hidden assets. Most people will find that going back to court after a divorce is cost-prohibitive and difficult, to say the least. It is usually preferable to very carefully analyze the information provided by your spouse and any proposed settlement before you go to court.