The Law Offices of Mark S. Guralnick targets spouses who attempt to fraudulently conceal marital assets. There are many ways in which a spouse might try to hide property or money to avoid making a fair distribution of these assets during a divorce case. For example, it is common for spouses to hand over large sums of money to another person (often a family member) under the pretense that it was done to pay off a non-existent debt. In some cases, marital assets are transferred into one of the spouse’s businesses, or the business itself may be placed in the names of other parties. It is also common for deceptive spouses to transfer funds out of a marital account or their own account into another person’s account, on the understanding that the other person will hold the money (and hide the money) until the divorce is concluded.
Tell tale signs of fraudulent activity may include a lack of transparency about finances, particularly in marriages in which one spouse has always controlled the financial affairs. Similarly, when mail is delivered to addresses other than the marital home, or bank statements and bills are being paid remotely or through non-marital accounts, a fraudulent concealment may be underway. Sudden changes in spending habits, such as buying valuable assets, paying down large debts quicker than usual, depleting saving accounts, or withdrawing funds from retirement accounts, may all raise a “red flag” that suggests a fraudulent concealment is in progress.
Perhaps the most common, and transparent, attempt to conceal assets is when a spouse suddenly leaves a job, takes a new job, declares an unforeseen disability, or otherwise downgrades his financial status just as a divorce is getting started.
Yet another technique commonly used by parties engaged in fraudulent activities is to trick their spouse, or pressure their spouse, into signing papers at the very moment that the papers are due to be filed or submitted. So, for example, when a spouse asks his wife to sign a document, a tax return, a lease agreement, or other legal paper and claims that it must be filed immediately, the transaction is suspect because it prevents the spouse from having ample time to read and understand what she is signing, and to seek independent legal advice before committing to the contents of the document.