Smith, Meier & Webb, LPA

Financial records can expose hidden assets during a divorce

During or after the breakdown of a marriage, it is common for spouses to distrust each other. However, sometimes this distrust is justified. Although it is unethical and illegal, a spouse will sometimes try to hide financial assets to avoid splitting them during divorce. If you think your spouse could be hiding assets, it is important to act quickly to avoid any additional marital assets disappearing.

People usually hide assets by transferring the assets to someone else temporarily, claiming the asset was lost, creating fake debt or denying the asset existed at all. However, it is often possible to find a paper trail for these money movements.

Carefully review financial documents

To find the truth, you and your divorce team should carefully review your spouse's voluntary disclosures and all your family's financial documents, looking for any unusual activity. Discrepancies between income and spending can indicate hidden assets exist. Past tax returns, mortgage closing documents and transaction histories can reveal assets, liabilities and sources of income not disclosed elsewhere.

Also, you should look for records of purchased items that could easily be undervalued, overpayments made to creditors or stock transferred to family members. If possible, you may also be able to check for cash in hiding spots around the marital home, such as a safe.

Additional actions may be necessary

If you are worried your spouse may be continuing to dwindle down marital assets, it may be appropriate to consider additional actions. For example, when it is necessary to protect your interests, your divorce team can help you file a temporary financial restraining order. This can stop your spouse from continuing dishonest financial actions.

If you think your spouse may be hiding assets, it can be important to act quickly to uncover the truth. All of the marital assets must be disclosed for you to receive your fair share in the divorce.

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