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Is my spouse hiding assets? How do I find out?

On Behalf of | Apr 4, 2024 | High-Net Worth Divorce

A quite common concern among divorce clients is whether their spouse is hiding assets. Whether it is business assets, cash or anything else, they may have stashed away somewhere, figuring out if assets are missing and, if so, where they are, can feel like putting together a complicated puzzle.

Why hide assets?

First, let’s talk about why people hide assets in a divorce. If someone hides an asset, whether a property, cash, a part of their income or anything of value, their piece of the pie is larger, and they get to walk away with more.

If everything is out in the open, the typical rules apply regarding a just and right division of the marital estate. Depending on where you are, that might mean an even split or a fair split.

Start with the paper trail

Even in the digital age, the paper trail is king. Gather, bank statements, tax returns, pay stubs and all that paperwork that you filed away for years and years can come in handy now. Look for unusual withdrawals or expenses that make little sense.

In addition, look for expenses that your spouse never told you about. If there is nothing to hide, most people do not hide that kind of information from their spouse. However, if they are doing something wrong, odds are they will try to hide it.

Public records

If you dig through public records, be prepared to be shocked. You can see real estate deeds, vehicle registrations and UCC filings, all of which can uncover hidden assets. A bit of detective work can help you figure out if your spouse has been hiding assets in their name or even both your names without you knowing.

Monitor mail and email

Monitor mail and email but do so legally. Do not open mail that is not addressed to you and do not hack your spouse’s email. However, if your name is on anything, you have a right to see it.

Remember discovery

During the divorce process, there is a discovery phase. This phase is one where both parties ask each other questions and probe into each other’s lives legally. Attorneys typically handle this part and you will probably sit on some of these proceedings, like depositions, or have to fill out paperwork called interrogatories.

Consider hiring a professional

If your attorney recommends it, consider hiring a professional who can help you find hidden assets. However, you must be prepared to find out things that might alarm you.

Do not be surprised if you uncover things that your spouse hid from you, whether personal or financial, in this process. Professionals know what they are doing and are usually exceptional at finding out what most people cannot find elsewhere.

In conclusion, while it might take some digging, it is possible to find out whether your spouse is hiding assets, what assets those are, where they are and any other secret, they may keep from you. Remember to stay on the legal side.

Do not break the law trying to find out whether your spouse has an account in a different country or had an affair five years ago. Consult with an attorney to get the best counsel and the reassurance that no matter what you find, everything will be alright.