If a spouse is caught trying to hide his or her assets in a divorce case in California, the court has the ability to award 100 per cent of the value of the assets to the other party. While the law is not so draconian in the UK, it is never a good idea to try and hide assets in a financial settlement, particularly if the ‘other side’ has engaged forensic accountants to try to ensure that all assets are identified.
However, even though trying to do so is ill-advised, people still try and hide assets. Some even start to syphon off funds months or even years in advance of announcing a wish to end a marriage or civil partnership. One husband went to the lengths of hiding a stash of diamonds in his father’s false leg. He then sent his father abroad to sell them but they were discovered by the airport scanner and so that wife got her fair share.
In the normal run of events, hiding assets be made more difficult if forensic accountants bring to bear their considerable experience and use sophisticated software that can sometimes pick up even the smallest anomaly in bank accounts.
Roger Isaacs, Partner at Milsted Langdon, said: “Hiding assets is a very risky business and, although the penalty isn’t as harsh here as it is in California, the courts take a tough line on those who fail to make a full and frank disclosure.”
Author: Roger Isaacs 23 July 2018