Divorce is a difficult process. If you suspect your spouse has hidden assets from you, the process becomes more difficult and complicated. You have many options to search for hidden assets when you go through a divorce. Here are some documents you can check and different methods you can use to request certain information.
Check All Bank Statements
A bank statement is the first document you need to carefully evaluate. If your spouse has made any expenditures without your knowledge or if you cannot account for what the money bought, this signifies a red flag.
Another way to check is to look at the bank statement for any missing bill payments that you know for certain exist. This indicates the likelihood that your spouse has additional accounts you do not know about, which shows your spouse has more money than he or she has told you about.
A bank statement will also reflect any deposits that are not consistent with your regular forms of compensation. ATM withdrawals and transfers to and from the account made without your knowledge are also suspect.
Check Credit Card Statements
A credit card statement can provide a wealth of proof if you are on the search for hidden assets. If it is a credit card account you are aware of, check the statements for any charges that do not look familiar to you. Either your spouse is hiding debt from you or he or she has extra money stashed elsewhere and is paying the bills using those resources.
Check Your Tax Returns
If you are not a financial guru, you can get assistance from your divorce attorney when going over tax returns, as he or she will know what to look for. When you review the tax returns, look for any undisclosed investments, money generated from property you are not aware of, investments made without your knowledge, or any accounts you are unaware of.
Get Access to Additional Records
Not surprisingly, your spouse may be unwilling to provide the information you need to prove he or she has hidden assets. If you cannot get your hands on the above documents, your attorney can help you obtain them with several legal techniques.
Discovery is a formal request for documents and other information. Your attorney has several options when it comes to discovery. Some discovery gets information from your spouse only, while other forms of discovery obtain information from third parties like financial institutions, employers, credit card companies, and the like.
Your attorney can also employ a private investigator to seek hidden assets. Private investigators will have access to different databases not available to the general public. He or she can also do a search for public records, which can show undisclosed assets, like real estate records.
Keep in mind that the law will vary in different jurisdictions. Some areas have restrictions on the type of investigation tactics used, like surveillance for instance.
Even the most skilled attorney may find it difficult to uncover all potentially hidden assets. That's when a certified public accountant (CPA) who specializes in forensic reviews comes in handy. Consider hiring a CPA with this specialty to evaluate all the available records and determine if there are hidden assets.
If your financial records are very complex or if your spouse has many businesses that he or she uses to funnel assets around, a forensic review is very useful.
You need to act quickly if you are suspicious of your spouse. If you have concerns that your spouse has assets hidden from you, please contact Paul A. Meding, P.A., Attorney at Law for assistance.