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Hidden wealth can play a part in a high net worth divorce

When an individual has amassed a significant volume of wealth, he or she is often displeased at the idea of having to share those earnings with a spouse in the event of a divorce. It may feel unfair that one spouse's hard work, ingenuity or savvy business skills should serve to provide the other spouse with a financial windfall if the marriage should end in a high net worth divorce. Fueled by this sense of injustice, some Florida spouses will attempt to shield a degree of their fortunes from the property division process.

Hidden assets have become something of a hot topic lately, with the release of the Panama Papers. More than 11 million documents were leaked to the press, all of which originated at a Panamanian law firm known as Mossack Fonseca. Many believe that wealthy people from across the globe have sought out this law firm to assist in concealing assets as they neared divorce.

One of the tactics commonly used by Mossack Fonseca is the establishment of offshore companies. Those entities are then used to channel money out of the spouse's country of residence, with the intent of sheltering that wealth from loss during property division. The companies can be used to purchase valuable art, antiques, furniture or any other items of significant value.

On the other side of this wealth equation lies companies who specialize in combing through a couple's finances to look for evidence of hidden wealth. These professionals, known as forensic accountants, can look at a family's income, assets and liabilities to discover discrepancies. Those discrepancies are then tracked, which often results in the discovery of some form of hidden wealth. For Florida spouses who are preparing to divorce, uncovering such an action can make a world of difference in the final high net worth divorce settlement.  

Source: news.vice.com, "Divorce: One More Reason Why the Super Rich Want to Hide Their Money", John Dyer, April 14, 2016

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