High net worth divorces are those in which the couple’s property is in the millions of dollars. Such divorces usually involve complex asset portfolios that include bank accounts, retirement accounts, real estate, business ownership and varied types of employment compensation. Since Connecticut law calls for dividing all property in a divorce, each asset of either spouse must be identified and valued.

Unfortunately, the heavy stakes of a high net worth divorce can lead some spouses to resort to deceptive tactics to keep more property for themselves and to reduce their alimony or support obligations. These actions are illegal. However, innocent spouses often fail to discover them or they learn of them too late.

If you are a party to a high net worth divorce in which there is conflict over the property that is to be divided, you should be aware of the possibility that your spouse is doing any of the following:

  1. Hiding assets — A spouse may attempt to conceal or undervalue assets. This can involve transferring them to offshore accounts, family members, friends or business entities, making it difficult for the other spouse to identify them.

  2. Income doctoring — A spouse might manipulate income to appear to be less affluent. This can be done by delaying bonuses, deferring salary increases or hiding income through complex financial structures.

  3. Undervaluing businesses — A spouse with substantial business interests might attempt to undervalue the business to minimize the other spouse’s potential share. This could involve understating profits, inflating debts and manipulating financial statements.

  4. Creating debt — Intentional accumulation of debt can be used as a tactic to reduce the overall value of a spouse’s holdings. Sometimes, the debt can be fictitious, as when the spouse allegedly borrows funds that are not actually transferred. 

  5. Spousal support sabotage — A spouse may intentionally jeopardize their own income or financial stability to minimize the amount of alimony they might be required to pay.

  6. Custody manipulation — As in any divorce, child custody can be contentious. Some spouses might attempt to exaggerate issues related to the children to gain a more favorable position in the equitable distribution process.

  7. Delaying tactics — Slow response to requests for financial documents or other information can be a strategic move to increase legal fees for the other spouse, putting pressure on that spouse to settle for a less favorable outcome.

Spouses are required to fully disclose all property in a divorce. A litigant can be held in contempt for inaccurate or incomplete financial disclosures, whether by omitting certain assets or inflating liabilities. Such infractions can also affect that party’s share of assets. An experienced Connecticut divorce attorney can help you spot and counter deceptive tactics with the aid of financial experts and other professionals.

The O’Neil Law Firm proudly serves residents of Hartford, Middlesex and Tolland counties in Connecticut divorce matters. For a free initial consultation with, call 866-418-7593 or contact us online