If you're in a situation where you're married and very wealthy, then there are some particular ways that you or your spouse might be thinking about hiding assets. Knowing which assets you have, how much your spouse earns and other factors can affect if you or your spouse receive or pay spousal support and the division of the marital assets.
Take for example a situation in which your spouse decides to hide a percentage of their income. You may receive less support than you should as a result. That's unfair, but there are, unfortunately, people who will do that.
What are some of the more unscrupulous ways that the extremely wealthy hide assets or set them off-limits? One is by using offshore trusts that hold assets. Those are frustrating because they cannot be accessed by creditors and oftentimes fall outside U.S. jurisdiction.
Two other techniques are to use domestic asset protection trusts and trust decanting. DAPTS allow you to your assets into a trust and to protect them against creditors. Decanting is designed to remove an irrevocable trust's assets and transfer them to a new trust.
How can you fight back if you believe your spouse is hiding income or trying to shield their assets?
It is very important for you to keep receipts, documentation regarding your accounts, information about gifts and other evidence that can prove your right to certain assets. California law does protect you, and any community property should be equally divided between yourself and your spouse upon divorce. If those hidden or manipulated assets are found later, you may even have a larger claim.