Finding Hidden Assets During Divorce
Once you find out that your spouse wants a divorce, it's only natural that you wonder how long he or she has been thinking about this decision and what has been done to hide assets from you.
Ask your divorce attorney to suggest the name of a reputable forensic accountant who can assist in tracing assets.
7 Places to Look for Hidden Communal Assets
The following are common places where assets could be hidden. It's recommended that you ask your divorce attorney to suggest the name of a reputable forensic accountant who can assist in tracing assets (only if you think it's necessary).
- Keep track of your expenses and try to reconcile bank statements over the last year. Does this match up with reported income?
- Look at the checkbook ledger. Do you notice payments to friends or family members? This type of "debt repayment" is a common strategy for spouses who only plan to void the checks later or who have made an arrangement to return the money later.
- Look at your spouse's business expenses too. If he or she owns a business, it's possible a salary was paid to nonexistent employees.
- Look at the balances of your children's savings accounts and trust funds. Do the amounts look right?
- Take a look through your spouse's office. Do the furnishings look unfamiliar or new? Hobbies, artwork, and antiques may be purchased with funds that could've been split during the divorce.
- Did your spouse receive promised bonuses and raises? It's possible your spouse arranged to receive that money after the divorce is finalized.
- Review investment account statements; interest on municipal bonds or series EE savings bonds don't need to be reported on tax returns.
Make Sure You Get What You Are Entitled To
While it may be entirely possible that your spouse is not hiding anything from you, it is definitely in your best interest to make sure. We suggest these 7 tips only to ensure that you are aware that such things do happen. Never be caught off guard and always take advantage of the important advice that an experienced divorce attorney can provide you with. That's what they're there for.
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California Divorce Guide