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Going after hidden assets in a complex divorce

by | Jan 29, 2018 | Blog, Firm News |

During your marriage, nearly everything you and your spouse acquired became marital property. Now that you divorcing, your shared assets require proper and fair division.

However, you have this niggling feeling that your soon-to-be ex is not coming clean about the assets over which he has control. If that is the case, you can do some investigating on your own before calling in the professionals.

Hiding spots

Start your investigation at home. Your spouse may have been a bit too casual in squirreling away cash, for example. Look for hiding spots in drawers, closets, the cabinets in the garage. In addition to cash, you could find stock certificates, life insurance policies, perhaps the key to a safe deposit box you never knew existed.

Online errors

Many people give themselves away online with comments they make or pictures they post on social media sites. You can also bring up public records online by entering your spouse’s name. You might come up with the names of friends or business associates you never heard of. Jot down any unusual information; it could be important to your search for hidden assets.

Separate accounts

If your spouse is hiding money, he might set up a secret bank account under his own name. He could also use your child’s social security number to set up a bank account in little Johnny’s name and use it to hide funds.

Business trickery

If your spouse is in business for himself, he can make payments to a fake employee or consultant. He could also wait until after the divorce is final to bill customers for products or services; that way, he does not have to share the profits with you. Using that same line of thought, if he works for a company, he could request a delay of any raises or bonuses he is due until after finalizing the divorce.

Seeking legal help

Your divorce attorney will appreciate any leads you can provide, and forensic accountants, business valuation experts and other specialists will come into play to help bring any hidden assets to light. Remember that everyone leaves clues, and those clues will likely benefit you during a complex divorce proceeding.