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Hiding marital assets: a game sometimes played in earnest

If the Panama Papers sounds like an intrigue-laden novel of sorts, a tale replete with devious conduct and macabre twists and turns, rest assured that such is indeed the case.

In fact, that is precisely what it is, a ledgered tome of would-be secretive entries that has become, well, not so secretive of late.

As noted in one online account regarding what has become truly big news over the past weeks, the papers collectively total 11 million-plus documents that are uniformly focused upon a single subject matter, namely this: hiding wealth.

From creditors. From tax authorities. From business rivals.

And from spouses.

As the above article notes, some spouses will go to truly great lengths to play a hide-the-assets game based on preserving all the wealth possible during and following a divorce.

The leaked documents from a Panama law firm highlight great amounts of wealth sought to be hidden by many powerful people, with assets often "stashed offshore in complex networks of companies and trusts."

One asset recovery specialist calls such vehicles "instruments in a game of hide and concealment," and adds that "a dishonest [spouse] is as much a fraudster as Bernard Madoff."

Although the Panama Papers reportedly relate almost exclusively to what the aforementioned article terms the "global One Percent" (that is, the uber wealthy of the earth), the documents undoubtedly cast a spotlight on the hiding of marital assets during divorce generally, irrespective of the magnitude of attempted asset shielding.

And that deceit occurs in divorces of all types and with material variances in the type of assets being hidden and their estimated value.

And it can occur anywhere. The issue of hiding assets can come up in any case -- big or small. It is often the case that a party may not have the financial resources to spend to track it down and will need to make a "cost-benefit" analysis in deciding how to spend the money he or she does have in getting their divorce done. Of course, this is something the spouse who may be hiding assets is fully aware of and may be counting on.

Persons in Minnesota with questions or concerns regarding the hiding of marital assets, or seeking elucidation on whether given property is a marital or nonmarital asset, can secure answers and guidance from a proven Twin Cities family law attorney well grounded in matters regarding property division.

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