What Can I Do If My Spouse is Hiding Assets?

17666509_sAny United States couple going through divorce must reveal their finances. All their finances. This disclosure should be open, exhaustive and complete. Real estate holdings, investments, retirement accounts, family businesses, and other assets must be disclosed. Doing so may present a complex task, never-the-less, disclosure must be done.

All too commonly, though, one spouse may try to hide assets from the other. This may happen especially when one spouse has been thinking about divorce for a long time. Hiding assets is quite unethical. And illegal.

There are things you can do if you believe your spouse is hiding or concealing assets during your divorce. A few of them follow below:

Be observant

Does your spouse own a business? If so, you must be particularly observant since a business affords many ways to hide assets or to make the business appear less valuable than it actually is. Tactics include delaying new contracts, deferring raises to employees, or withholding bonuses or commissions. These kinds of subterfuge may be particularly hard to notice if you are not actively involved with the day to day operation of the company.

Be observant, too, for any papers no longer arriving at the house. This may be because your spouse has requested a change in address, so that statements are sent to another location. Check with your credit card companies or banks to guarantee you receive copies of all your reports.

Gather evidence

Did you notice a sudden lack of funds in a joint account or unexplained differences in the family business books? Hiding money and other assets often leaves a trail. Make copies of any unusual documents when possible, and keep them where your spouse cannot get to them. Also make copies of other applicable financial information such as bank statements, credit card statements, and tax returns to show the pattern of income and expenses and to help your attorney track down assets.

Hire a lawyer you can trust

Consult with an attorney who has experience with handling divorce cases where assets were hidden from one spouse. By hiring a capable attorney, you can be certain that you have someone looking out for your best interests and seeing to it that you get your fair share of assets in the divorce.

It is essential to be hands-on in protecting yourself financially. Keep in mind that if your spouse can hide assets from you successfully, then many aspects of your divorce may be affected—including alimony, child support, and property distribution.