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Think hiding assets only hurts your ex? Think again

There is no question that hiding assets during a divorce is a bad idea. Not only is it unfair, it is also illegal and you could wind up facing some serious legal penalties if and when hidden assets are revealed.

It is also important to recognize that anyone else who benefited from undisclosed assets can wind up in some legal and financial hot water as well. For instance, a college seemed to be the lucky recipient of about $63 million in donations from one of its wealthy alumnus. However, those generous gifts may not have been his to give. 

According to reports, the man evidently failed to disclose at least $4.5 million he was holding in a Swiss trust during his divorce in 2011. Whether that failure was purposeful or not has yet to be confirmed, but the man did admit that he did not disclose that money, as he should have.

Now his ex is requesting that the college stop using any funds received from the alumnus, comparing his actions to money laundering.

It is not clear what will happen next. It is possible that a judge could order the school to return the money, which would be a serious punishment for a school that almost certainly had no reason to question the donations. It is also possible that the school will be allowed to keep the money and the former couple will renegotiate the divorce settlement.

What our readers in California can take away from this incident is a reminder that hiding assets during divorce can lead to serious penalties for several people, including you, your ex, your kids and recipient of undisclosed assets.

Rather than risk the legal and financial fallout of not disclosing assets during your divorce, you would be wise to examine the legal avenues that allow you to protect property and secure a fair settlement with your attorney.

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