What to do if you suspect your spouse is hiding assets

Berid Schutzbank

Divorce can be an emotionally charged process, as tensions arise around issues such as custody, child support, alimony and how property gets split up. But it can ramp up to a whole other level if you suspect your spouse is hiding assets to keep them out of the marital estate that gets divided between you.

If you suspect your spouse is hiding assets, it’s critical to talk to a divorce lawyer as soon as you can. An attorney can help you protect your rights in court while also doing what’s necessary — including working with private investigators and accountants — to identify hidden assets.

It’s also very important that you go through all your legal and financial documents and organize and take inventory of them, because they may have information that can assist your attorney in locating hidden assets.

For example, your bank statements can help your attorney get a sense of your spouse’s income and typical expenses, and whether he or she has made suspicious withdrawals and/or deposits, or whether large purchases have been made in your spouse’s name that would typically be made in both of your names.

Loan applications can also be a useful source of information. Since applicants need to disclose their income and other assets for bank approval, scrutinizing an application may give clues of hidden assets.

Similarly, income tax returns may reveal assets you were unaware of, and publicly searchable land and vehicle registration records might reveal that your spouse bought real estate or cars that you didn’t know about.

Gathering that kind of documentation and reviewing it so you understand your finances in detail will also help you more effectively keep a lookout for new bank accounts and suspicious transfers that you can report to your attorney when they occur.

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