Searching For Hidden Assets In Divorce: What You Need To Know

If you're in the middle of a divorce, then at some point, you and your soon-to-be ex are going to need to separate your assets. Ideally, this will be done amicably, but unfortunately, this is not always the case. One major point of contention in many divorces is that one spouse suspects another spouse of hiding money or assets. It is important to be aware of all assets held by you and your spouse so that they're properly reported and can be divided fairly.

If you suspect that your spouse is hiding money or other assets, there are some steps you can take to potentially uncover them and ensure that everything is divided properly when your divorce is finalized.

Ask for Copies of Records

If you and your spouse are still on amicable terms, you could start by simply asking to see copies of financial records. After all, this is not an unreasonable request for two people going through the divorce. Your request is especially reasonable if your spouse was generally the one to handle the finances (such as paying bills) during your marriage. If he or she refuses to provide you with these records, this should make your suspicion even stronger.

Look for New Purchases

One common tactic people will use when trying to hide money in a divorce is to use the money on a large purchase that can be re-sold later on, such as collectibles, a vehicle, or other valuables. If you're still living in the same household, keep an eye out for any suspicious purchases. If you notice any, make note of them but do not bring them up with your spouse. Instead, consult with an attorney.

Work With a Divorce Lawyer

Speaking of legal help, this is also a great time to begin working with an experienced divorce lawyer, if you haven't done so already. Specifically, a divorce lawyer will be able to start a formal "discovery process," which will involve obtaining any financial documents needed to carry out the investigation and requiring your spouse to testify under oath about any and all assets or cash. 

Having assets or cash hidden from you during a divorce can lead to you being left with an unfair settlement when all is said and done. The best thing you can do is to work with a lawyer while keeping an eye out for these other common signs that your spouse is hiding something.