How to tell if your spouse is hiding assets

Sometimes, a spouse will hide financial assets before or during a divorce. This is done in an attempt to avoid splitting the assets during the divorce proceedings or to minimize the amount of alimony or child support that he or she may owe. People sometimes hide assets by stashing cash, deferring salary, overpaying taxes, transferring assets to a trusted person or underreporting income. While this type of activity is dishonest and illegal, there are some ways the truth can be uncovered.

Know the signs

Knowing some of the signs of this type of activity can be a good first step to uncovering hidden assets. If you notice some red flags, you can learn more about the area of concern to determine if there was something dishonest going on or not.

Some common signs there may be hidden assets, include your spouse:

  • Being secretive, controlling or defensive about financial matters
  • Receiving mail somewhere other than the family home
  • Experiencing an income decrease without a reduction of expenses
  • Opening multiple bank accounts without a logical reason

In general, you should be on the lookout for signs that your spouse may be hiding or understating assets or income. You are also looking for signs your spouse is overstating debts or reporting higher expenses than he or she actually has.

How to uncover the truth

One way to begin to uncover the truth is to go through your records of the household finances and look for actions that seem unusual. You should also closely examine your spouse's disclosure of assets. Follow the money trail and look for information that is missing or that does not add up.

During your divorce, you can make formal requests for financial information, known as interrogatories. Your questions can be as broad or specific as necessary and must be answered honestly. You can also have your attorney ask your spouse about financial matters during a deposition, which is a sworn testimony that is transcribed by a court reporter.

If you think your spouse may be hiding assets, it is important to do what you can to uncover the truth. Only when all of the marital assets are disclosed will you get everything you are entitled to in your divorce.

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