If you are in the midst of the divorce process, you may be concerned about multiple types of financial issues. You will want to make sure you will be able to support yourself after you separate from your spouse, and you will also want to be sure you can receive a fair share of your marital property.
However, you may be worried that your ability to reach a fair divorce settlement will affect your spouse’s attempts to hide money or other assets.
This can be a significant concern for many mothers who are going through divorce. If you have been focused on childcare and other household responsibilities, you may not be as well-informed about your family’s finances as your spouse.
This can put you at a disadvantage, especially if you do not have all the information you need about your household income and expenses or the different types of assets you and your spouse own. If you are concerned that your spouse is attempting to hide assets, here are some tips on where you can look to uncover these issues:
Where to Look for Hidden Assets During Divorce
Hiding income from the IRS can lead to serious penalties, including hefty fines or even prison time. Because of this, most people take care to properly report their income when filing their annual tax returns. Whether you and your spouse have filed taxes jointly or separately, you should be able to access the returns that were filed in the past.
By closely examining tax returns from the past five years, you can search for inconsistencies between the income that was reported to the IRS and the financial disclosures made by your spouse during the divorce process.
Checking Account Statements and Canceled Checks
You should be able to access information about any joint bank accounts you have with your spouse, and during the discovery process, you can obtain information about separately-owned accounts as well. By reviewing bank statements, you can determine how marital funds were used to make purchases, pay expenses, or transfer money to others.
Canceled checks can be very helpful, and they may show that your spouse made purchases that you were unaware of or attempted to transfer funds to friends or family members to avoid dividing them with you during the divorce process.
By reviewing statements for any accounts you and your spouse own together or separately, you can determine whether any unusual deposits or withdrawals were made. Large deposits may mean your spouse is concealing a source of income, such as dividends earned through ownership of stock. Unexplained withdrawals may be attempts to conceal assets that should be included in the property division process during your divorce.
If your soon-to-be ex-spouse borrowed money from a mortgage company or bank, you can receive a copy of their loan application from the courthouse, as well as other documentation related to the loan. These documents will list all of the assets reported when applying for the loan.
The estimated values of these assets can give you a clear idea of what property should be divided during the divorce process, as well as the financial resources available to your spouse through any non-marital assets they own. All of this information can inform the decisions made during the asset division process.
The County Auditor
If your spouse has made any real estate purchases, the county auditor will have information related to any money that was taken from savings accounts and used to purchase real estate. You will be able to find any homes or land your spouse owns and ensure that the value of these assets will be properly considered when dividing your marital property.
If you are uncertain about the extent of your family’s finances, you may want to consider the lifestyle of your soon-to-be ex-partner. Does their reported income match the type of clothing they wear, the car they drive, and the activities they participate in? If you believe their lifestyle is more lavish than their reported income could support, they may be hiding assets from you.
A forensic accountant may be able to help you analyze the information available to you and determine whether it matches up with the lifestyle of your spouse and your family. They can use the abovementioned methods and other techniques to uncover assets your spouse has attempted to conceal.
Get Legal Help Uncovering Hidden Assets
You may be able to work with accountants or other financial experts during the divorce process to uncover any hidden assets and gain a complete understanding of your family’s finances. However, your best resource is likely to be your attorney.
An experienced divorce lawyer can help you determine the best ways to search for hidden assets, and they can advocate on your behalf throughout the divorce process to make sure you will be able to reach a fair settlement. With the right attorney on your side, you can achieve an outcome to your case that will allow you to meet your financial needs in the coming years.