A fundamental aspect of divorce is the process by which couples divide up their marital property. In Louisiana, property division should end with both people walking away with approximately half of the marital assets. But what happens if one person decides to hide some of those marital assets? Unfortunately, the practice is more common than some people might realize.

Whether a person initiated the divorce or not, it is important to inventory marital assets as soon as possible. Doing so can help if a person’s soon-to-be ex tries to hide assets later on. However, since it is entirely possible that an ex might hide assets before ever filing for divorce, this initial inventory of marital assets might not be enough to catch any discrepancies.

If a person suspects that his or her spouse is hiding assets, it’s important to understand the most common methods. These include simply denying the asset even exists, transferring an asset to another person, pretending as if the asset was lost, and creating fake debt. Proving that one of these cover-ups took place can be daunting but is generally possible. Paper trails — including tax documents — can help uncover assets that have been hidden from divorce proceedings. Tax documents can serve double duty for this purpose, as discrepancies in taxes are often the first red flags that something is amiss.

Virtually no one wants to come out on the other side of divorce feeling as if he or she did not get what was deserved during property division. However, when an ex hides assets, the other party might never even realize that he or she was shorted. Because of this, it is extremely important for those in Louisiana who are going through a divorce to pay close attention to the details of the process.