As soon as one spouse in a couple suspects that divorce is on the table, he or she may attempt to keep an unfair portion of the couple’s marital assets by hiding some assets. Not only is this unwise and unethical, it is actually illegal. Although spouses who hide assets from one another rarely see jail time for these offenses, it may seriously affect the perspective of the judge who hears such a divorce case.
This is especially true in divorces where the couple has significant assets. Mississippi uses equitable division guidelines to govern how spouses divide their assets during divorce. Unlike community property states, which require that spouses divide assets evenly, equitable division guidelines allow spouses to negotiate terms that they both agree are fair, even if they are unequal. Of course, if one spouse hides assets from the other, fair asset division is simply not possible.
If you face divorce in a marriage with significant assets, be sure to seek professional legal counsel from a divorce attorney before you make any sudden moves. You may have perfectly legal ways to protect certain assets that you have yet to identify. Similarly, you may discover tools you have available to discourage your spouse from hiding assets and keep your divorce negotiations fair and above board.
Any divorce, even one between high net-worth individuals, can be professional and respectful. If you want a truly fair divorce, no matter how complex your marriage’s assets and liabilities, an attorney can help protect your rights and priorities.
Source: CNN, “Top 10 Mistakes in High Net Worth Divorces,” Joey Battah, accessed Dec. 01, 2017