What to Do When You Suspect Your Ex is Hiding Assets
Divorce is never an easy process, and it becomes even more challenging when one spouse tries to hide assets to avoid equitable distribution. However, there are legal tools available to help you uncover hidden income and assets during divorce proceedings. Here’s what to do:
- Gather financial records: Categorize assets as “marital” (acquired during the marriage), “separate” (pre-marriage or post-separation acquisitions, or gifts and inheritances) or “comingled” (a mix of marital and separate property).
- Communicate: If possible, start by requesting copies of all financial records from your spouse.
- Seek professional assistance: If your spouse handled the finances during the marriage, you may feel like an “out-spouse” with limited access to financial information. In such cases, it’s crucial to consult an experienced divorce attorney.
- Use the discovery process: If you suspect your spouse will not voluntarily disclose all financial information, the legal system provides a formal process called “discovery.” Through discovery, you or your attorney can obtain information and documents necessary for a fair settlement. Discovery may produce specific documents like tax returns, financial statements, loan applications and account records, as well as written testimony, depositions and inspection demands.
- Consult tax returns: Tax returns offer valuable insights into your spouse’s income, investments, and potential hidden assets. Review areas like Form 1040 for income sources, Schedule A for itemized deductions and Schedule E for supplemental income and loss.
- Review documents: Analyzing financial transactions during the marriage can help you trace money flow and identify hidden assets. Review bank statements, wire transfer documents and cancelled checks for suspicious transactions.
- Consult financial experts: If the financial complexities seem overwhelming, consider hiring a financial expert or forensic accountant. They have experience in uncovering hidden assets and can provide valuable assistance during the divorce process, such as discovering hidden accounts and assets.
When you’re ready to divorce, call the knowledgeable family law attorneys at Jakubowski, Robertson, Maffei, Goldsmith & Tartaglia, LLP for assistance.