Most couples today have complicated financial portfolios. They include vacation properties, marital residence, pension plans, stock options, brokerage accounts, deferred compensation, and so on. Circumstances leading up to a divorce are not exactly pleasant, and asset hiding is often planned much earlier than you think. Do hire a good divorce lawyer.
Some spouses even hold funds offshore or multiple retirement plans. Here’s how you can find hidden assets during a divorce.
What you can do
- Determine the last time when your income changed, since this will be used as a benchmark.
- One red flag is when finances are manipulated. This is when documentation for long periods of time is missing. You also have to be wary of confusing transactions that can obscure the actual income and assets.
- With the help of a divorce lawyer, start with the documentation process as soon as possible. Consider asking for account statements from any accounts you might have legal access to.
- Consider engaging a forensic accountant. This will help to assess one’s marital lifestyle and calculate alimony or child support. This also helps to reveal hidden assets/funds.
Signs to watch out for
Some common tactics using which spouses may try to hide/disguise are
- Buying easy-to-overlook items that can be easily undervalued. These include antique items or art collections.
- Under-reporting income on financial statements and tax returns.
- Overpaying the IRAS, since any extra payment is refundable once the divorce is finalized.
- Transferring stocks or investment accounts into the business partners’ or family members’ names. After the divorce, they can get these assets back.
- Setting up a custodial account in a child’s name, using the latter’s social security number.
If you suspect a change in their recent activities and habits, it could be a sign they are stashing away money in a safe box somewhere in the home itself.
Employ an electronic trail
It helps to get be on the lookout from the time things have started souring between the two of you. Your spouse would start preparing for divorce in advance by hiding assets. Start digging around a little and check your browser’s history and their social media account regularly. If you have already found clues that suggest financial infidelity, consult a divorce lawyer. You can also use software or spying apps on phones and GPS devices to track and secret ATM withdrawals.
Hiring a divorce lawyer experienced with finding hidden assets
You cannot find your spouse’s hidden assets all by yourself. That’s why you should hire a divorce lawyer experienced with the same. Using advanced technological strategies, they can help you with any information that is critical to your case. Software designed for the same can provide thorough analyses of financial statements to reveal any anomalies.
Privacy laws do render spouses from using certain means to uncover information, and render such evidence inadmissible in the court. However, such evidence can help in finding other information that is admissible. An experienced divorce lawyer would know where to look for information.
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