As you prepare for your divorce, you may suspect that your spouse is being dishonest about your finances. You two might have maintained a certain lifestyle during your marriage, yet your spouse may now claim that the coffers are bare. You may wonder, then, whether they are hiding assets to avoid providing you with a fair divorce settlement. To determine if they are, you must know how – and where – to look for them.
Finding hidden assets during the discovery period
Digging for hidden assets can be difficult, especially if your spouse managed your household’s finances during your marriage. If you have no clue how to track them down, you can have your attorney help you during the discovery period. This is when you and your spouse will exchange information with each other. Among the information you can request from your spouse is their financial records, like tax returns, loan applications and bank account statements. In reviewing these, you may discover assets, accounts and income streams that you were in the dark about.
During the discovery period, you can also request that your spouse provide you with written responses to any questions you have about their finances. Or, you can request that they give an oral deposition – under oath – about them. The court could impose penalties on your spouse if they lie about their finances under oath.
Finding hidden assets in plain sight
The discovery period can be helpful for uncovering assets that are difficult to track down. Yet, your spouse may be hiding others in plain sight. Finding them may take little more than an open eye and an awareness of what to look for.
Some tactics your spouse may use to hide assets include:
- Delaying a promotion, bonus or raise until after your divorce
- Making gifts to family and friends
- Purchasing expensive items – like vehicles, artwork or furniture – with the intent to convert them to cash
- Repaying a friend or a relative for a fake debt
- Undervaluing collectibles or overlooked household items
A fair settlement can make the difference between financial stability and financial hardship after your divorce. If you suspect your spouse is hiding assets, you may need to take extra steps to guarantee you receive one. An attorney with family law experience can help you through the process.