Some marriages can end without involving the courts. Others, especially those involving complex assets, require a more litigious approach. One of the most common reasons we see divorce cases go to court is one spouse hiding or cutting off assets to give themselves an unfair advantage.
What can someone do when they suspect their spouse is hiding assets? Sometimes, asking your spouse for copies of all financial records connected to your marriage can be the end of it. If that does not yield satisfactory results, follow these tips:
Where to look for hidden assets
Two ways people frequently hide assets include transferring property to someone else and creating false debts. Going over tax returns can help uncover red flags that point to one of these behaviors. Tax documents often have a wealth of information to offer. Check bank statements for transfers to unfamiliar accounts. Safe deposit boxes and mortgage closing documents can also provide insight into your spouse’s finances. If, after reviewing these sources, someone still believes there are additional assets their spouse is hiding, it may be time to move to litigation.
Entering litigation means your attorney can conduct “discovery,” meaning they use the formal legal process to obtain information. They can formally demand documents, file interrogatories, and have property inspected to determine its real value. Discovery is especially useful in situations where someone suspects a spouse is hiding assets because a judge can order them to produce the information. It can also include depositions, where your spouse must answer questions under oath.
Anyone facing a divorce or separation who believes their spouse has not been honest about their finances should consult an attorney as soon as possible. An experienced family law litigator can help determine the best way to find these assets.