Hidden Bank Accounts
How Spouses Transfer Money to Offshore Accounts
Hiding money in offshore accounts is usually something you think only the wealthy take advantage of, it is a divorce trick anyone with liquid assets can use. Using OAPTs (offshore asset protection trusts), naming yourself as beneficiary, allows the trust owner to access the funds while taking advantage of foreign laws that don't embrace the concept of fraudulent transfer. These assets are generally almost impossible to get to, even with a U.S. court order.
While tax evasion is usually the primary reason for this practice, it is also used to hide significant assets during divorce proceedings. If you think your spouse has the means and ability to take advantage of an offshore asset protection trust, you should be watching for trips to known tax haven places as sometimes the accounts are set up in person, passport stamps, and tax forms because they require disclosure of offshore deposits. However, these accounts can also be set up through the internet or by other people.
If you suspect that your spouse has hidden assets there may be a remedy. If you discover these assets within a reasonable time period, you can file a motion to set aside any previous judgment awarded and have it reevaluated by the courts. In the instance of a California woman who hid her lottery winnings during her divorce, the husband filed a motion to set aside the previous judgment. The court agreed and awarded him the entire jackpot. Employ due diligence when a divorce proves eminent, and be aware of your spouse's actions. If you suspect hidden assets, start searching for the evidence that they exist.
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