Financial fraud is not something that often occurs in marriages, but if someone's spouse is engaged in it, it could result in one spouse receiving less of a couple's assets than is deserved when the marriage comes to an end. In the divorce context, fraud usually rears its head in the form of assets being hidden or under-reported.
For example, a spouse may have received work bonuses and deposited the funds in an account that is hidden. There are a number of variants of this type of behavior, but it can generally be tracked down by having a forensic analysis of a couple's accounting completed.
The more opportunities that an individual has to hide assets, and the more suspicious the behavior, the more likely that a forensic accounting is needed. Someone with a variety of trusts, investment and stock options or retirement savings accounts will have an easier time diverting funds in a way that is not obvious. An individual that owns or runs a business will likely also have a variety of ways to obscure their total income and assets.
Irrespective of whether a spouse has engaged in fraud during a marriage or a divorce, asset division can be a difficult and contentious process. While splitting bank accounts may be straightforward, many other assets are not readily divisible. A lawyer may be able to assist a divorcing client in locating and placing a value on all marital property for the purposes of negotiating a property division settlement agreement that can then be presented to the court for its approval.