Alaska does not technically operate under community property laws in a divorce. However, if a pair of spouses wishes to split marital assets 50/50, they’re free to do so. Otherwise, an equitable division can be determined. Neither type of agreement will be fair, however, if your spouse is hiding assets. This type of behavior violates property division laws, which require full disclosure of marital assets and debts.
If you know where to look, you might be able to squash a hidden asset scheme before it’s too late. Hiding assets is a form of perjury, and a judge can hold a person in contempt of court for deception. One of the first places to check for hidden assets is tax returns.
Many spouses try hiding assets by overpaying on their taxes
If your spouse prepays taxes, the Internal Revenue Service gains control of the funds. Many people have figured out that they can “stash money” by sending an overpayment to the IRS. It will make its way back as a refund. In the meantime, the money receives protection against garnishment or seizure, and it is not subject to property division in a divorce.
Purchasing big ticket items and underestimating their value
Another way your spouse might try to beat the system is to purchase artwork, jewelry or other luxury items, then list their value low when disclosing the assets in your divorce. You have a right to get a second opinion, meaning seeking your own valuation of the assets.
Asking people to hold money is a way to hide assets
If you’ve noticed money missing from your household or a jointly owned bank account, you might want to ask your spouse about it. In the past, many spouses have conducted hidden asset schemes by giving money to a relative or friend to hold until the divorce is final.
When you ask your spouse about such things, the explanation you get might be that your spouse was loaning money to someone or was paying back a debt. If it is a loan or a debt you were unaware of, it merits further investigation.
Getting what you’re entitled to in a divorce
You have a right to protect your interests when you face a divorce in Alaska. Rather than worry about “rocking the boat” by bringing such issues to the court’s attention, remember that hiding assets is unlawful because it amounts to lying to the judge. The court can determine a fair settlement if someone has not fully disclosed all assets and liabilities.