How to Find Hidden Assets in a Divorce

Have you ever wondered if your husband or wife is hiding assets? Do you want to know how to find hidden assets? Read on. 

It’s an unfortunate truth but it’s common for individuals to hide assets during a divorce. While we may still want to think better of the person we married, it’s important to be diligent and do your research.  

How to Find Hidden Assets: 5 Places to Look

Unreported Income.

Take a look at all savings, checking, brokerage, trust accounts, and any other accounts used by either spouse during the marriage. This can be tough if a person deals with a lot of cash transactions. Hiring a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA) to do a lifestyle analysis is a smart decision. They can comb through all sources of income and expenses and find things that don’t add up.

Tax returns

A CDFA will usually review at least 3 years of returns, which provides a fair amount of insight into one’s financial picture. Often, tax returns can reflect information that wasn’t disclosed. Items such as interest and dividends, mortgage interest, profit/loss from a business and overpaying taxes, can create a complete picture of possible hidden assets.

Businesses

If your spouse owns a business, there are numerous ways to hide assets. Your spouse can do things to intentionally lower the value of the business, such as delaying a large contract, prepaying expenses or using the business for personal expenses.

Collectibles & Other Valuables

Your spouse may hide money intangible assets such as cars, artwork, antiques, jewelry and even equipment used for hobbies. Keep an eye out for items you may have been unaware of.

Employ some good old snooping

Check the junk drawer for receipts for expensive items that may have been paid for with cash. Dig in the file cabinet for any statements or invoices you were unaware of. Take a look at your spouse’s social media accounts.  Did he or she claim to be broke yet there are pics of a lavish vacation taken recently?

Some of these tactics may seem overwhelming or extreme but it’s important to get a full picture of your finances so you can move forward with confidence. The best defense that you have is maintaining involvement in the family finances throughout the marriage. If it's too late for that, hiring a team of experts, including a CDFA is crucial to securing your financial future after divorce. If you have concerns about hidden assets, contact me for a strategy session.

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