A few weeks back, the release of the Panama Papers sent shockwaves around the globe, as they revealed in great detail the extent to which the wealthy and powerful — from actors and athletes to world leaders and business magnates — go to shield their assets.

For those unfamiliar with the Panama Papers, they are essentially the product of a massive leak of files from a global law firm based in the Central American country to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.

The aspect of the Panama Papers that is generating the most significant media attention is the degree to which the rich and famous use offshore shell corporations situated in those nations with little financial oversight and friendly financial regulations, otherwise known as tax havens.     

However, one of the more interesting aspects of the Panama Papers that hasn’t received quite as much attention, but is truly fascinating, is its revelation of how many billionaires went to great lengths to start hiding their assets once it became clear that a divorce was imminent.

Indeed, they demonstrate how these unimaginably wealthy parties placed millions of dollars in assets in complex trust funds held by the aforementioned offshore shell corporations in a bid to not only conceal them, but make them that much harder for their soon-to-be former spouses — along with their attorneys and forensic accountants — to track down.   

While the average divorce will typically not involve this degree of complex scheming, it doesn’t mean that spouses are somehow above or otherwise unable to accomplish the same feat on a much smaller scale. Indeed, the unfortunate reality is that concealment of marital assets is an all too common occurrence in divorces.

Accordingly, it’s important for anyone considering a divorce or served with divorce papers to consider speaking with an experienced legal professional as soon as possible so that they can get work protecting their rights and their best interests.