Divorce can be a financially straining process for both parties. Unfortunately, this can lead to some spouses trying to hide assets from the other. If you believe your spouse is hiding assets during the divorce process, it is crucial that you have a skilled Kansas City divorce attorney on your side.

Discovery is an important process of any divorce, where spouses share financial information about their assets, debts, and income. This process is essential for a fair division of assets and to make decisions about child support and spousal support. In uncontested divorces, this process can be informal, and spouses voluntarily give up financial information without being under oath.

However, if you believe your spouse is hiding assets, it is crucial that you go through the court-ordered formal discovery process, which is available in any type of divorce and required in contested divorces. In this process, there are additional ways that attorneys can discover evidence of hidden assets. A spouse who hides assets can face significant penalties.

Why Would a Spouse Hide Assets?

Hidden assets are more common in high-asset divorces or divorces where one or both spouses own a business. They are also more common when a divorce is contentious. Spouses may hide assets due to spite or due to fear over financial instability. Spouses may also hide specific assets that they have a sentimental attachment to or that they do not want their spouse to receive. Assets may also be hidden with the intent to deprive the other spouse of a fair amount of marital assets.

Kansas property distribution laws apply to all property, which is unique compared to other state laws. Therefore, any assets that are hidden, whether they were obtained during or before the marriage, directly affect the division of assets.

Ways That a Spouse Can Hide Assets

Spouses could hide assets throughout the divorce process, although it is more common for it to occur prior to divorce proceedings. If you discussed divorce with your spouse before filing, your spouse may have hidden assets during that period of time. A spouse may hide assets in many ways, such as:

  • Paying fake loans back to or giving gifts to family members, friends, or third parties with the intent of receiving those assets back after the divorce
  • Putting off income, raises, or bonuses until after the divorce
  • Delaying financially beneficial business agreements
  • Hiding funds in a business and/or undervaluing a business
  • Placing marital assets into a separate bank account, retirement account, offshore account, account under a child’s name, or secret trust
  • Hiding assets in point-of-sale accounts
  • Hiding assets in cryptocurrency accounts
  • Not disclosing cash payments
  • Overpaying the IRS for a tax return
  • Wasting marital funds on expensive assets, which are then undervalued

There are many other ways that a spouse may be able to hide assets. You can look for some of these warning signs, but many of them are harder to spot. If your spouse becomes unexpectedly secretive about finances, you may want to discuss formal discovery with your attorney.

How Does Formal Discovery Help?

Formal discovery is important because it is court-ordered, and there are more significant consequences for hidden assets. An attorney can use several tools to find hidden assets, including interrogatories, depositions, and subpoenas. Some of these tools are under oath, meaning that if there are any discrepancies between discovery and trial, the spouse can be held under contempt of court. These tools enable attorneys to discover important financial information, including hidden information.


Q: What Happens When a Spouse Hides Money During a Divorce?

A: When a spouse purposely hides money during court-ordered divorce discovery, the court does not look favorably on this. There may be civil penalties, including:

  • Awarding the assets that were hidden to the other spouse
  • Awarding more marital assets to the other spouse
  • Requiring the spouse who hid assets to cover the other spouse’s attorney fees

In addition, the spouse who hid assets may also face criminal charges for contempt of court. Contempt of court charges can result in fines and jail time.

Q: How Are Assets Split in a Divorce in Kansas?

A: Assets are split differently in a divorce in Kansas than in other states. Kansas operates under equitable distribution laws, where marital assets are split equitably between spouses. However, in Kansas, marital property refers to all assets each spouse owns, whether they were obtained before or during the marriage.

The court reviews specific factors about the marriage and each party’s conduct to determine an equitable and fair split of assets. Although, in many cases, the court will return each party’s “separate” property, this is not guaranteed like it is in other states.

Q: Who Loses the Most in a Divorce?

A: In a divorce, who loses the most is debatable. Many studies have shown that women suffer the most financially, and men suffer the most emotionally. Women tend to have a more significant decline in household income compared to men due to factors such as insufficient child support payments, pay inequality, and lowered earning capacity when they have children.

However, other studies state that there is no difference based on gender in mental well-being.

Q: Can I Empty My Bank Account Before Divorce?

A: Usually, you should not empty a bank account before divorce. Because Kansas classifies all assets as marital assets, you should not even empty bank accounts that are considered your personal accounts. This could be considered dissipation of marital assets and is frowned upon by the judge.

You are only allowed to empty a bank account if you are explicitly allowed to do so in the terms of a prenuptial agreement or if the prenuptial agreement states that the account is considered separate property.

Contact Stange Law Firm in Kansas City, KS

Hidden assets can result in you losing out on a fair split of marital assets, fair spousal support, and even fair child support. It can have severe financial consequences on your entire future and leave you with not enough assets to support yourself. It is crucial that you work with a skilled attorney if you think your spouse is hiding assets or if you have not had access to important financial information throughout your marriage.

An attorney can request the formal discovery process and guide you through it. Contact Stange Law Firm today to see how we can help you.