YUMA, Arizona. One of the tactics of the ultra-rich has been to hide assets in offshore accounts. According to Forbes , until very recently, Panama was a tax haven and a place where the wealthy would send their assets to hide the money from creditors and the IRS. Fortunately, changes in free trade agreements and laws have made it harder for the wealthy to hide money in Panama and in other countries. However, there remain other countries that the wealthy have used to hide money and assets from spouses during divorce. In some cases, the money had been hidden in these offshore accounts all along and in other cases, individuals put their money in the accounts once divorce was filed.
When this happens, a divorce can become very complex. It can be difficult to track down the funds. If assets are placed abroad, local courts may not have jurisdiction. For example, in one of the most expensive divorces in English history, a Russian oligarch moved a $500,000 yacht to Dubai. The New York Times reports that the oligarch was ordered by an English judge to pay his ex-wife $646 million. Yet, when the oligarch refused, the judge ordered that the oligarch’s yacht be impounded in Dubai. The yacht’s value is just under the figure the English courts determined that the oligarch owed his wife.
Recent rules require individuals with offshore accounts and assets to file a form known as an FBAR. This form requires individuals with over $10,000 in value or money in a foreign account to report their assets to the government, making it more likely that the government will be able to pursue and collect money owed to it. These reporting requirements can also make it more difficult for spouses to legally hide assets from their exes. After all, if a person is required to file an FBAR, they would also be legally required to disclose this information to their ex during a divorce.
Yet, when the wealthy move assets offshore, it can be tough for individuals in the U.S. to access this money. Foreign officials are often reluctant to cooperate.
According to Forbes, the failure to disclose offshore accounts can result in criminal prosecution. One way that divorce lawyers might be able to put pressure in this case is to report failure to report civil assets to the federal government, especially if it is known that required reporting hasn’t occurred.
No one should hide their assets. It’s against the law and it is just not right. Divorce law allows for the equitable distribution of marriage property. This excludes wealth a person may have brought into the marriage, so there is no reason to try to hide assets.
If you are going through a divorce and have reason to believe that your ex may have been hiding assets, consider reaching out to Schneider & Onofry, P.C. divorce lawyers in Yuma, Arizona. Our firm works with a range of clients facing divorce questions and concerns. We can help you. Visit us at https://www.soarizonalaw.com/.
Schneider & Onofry, P.C.
207 W. 2nd St.
Yuma, AZ 85364