Money can be a source of disagreement during marriage and a major issue during a divorce. People can engage in questionable or even outright illegal behavior in a divorce, especially if they want to punish their ex.
Hiding assets or withholding financial information is a common way for someone to unfairly influence the outcome of a high-asset divorce. The greater your family's overall income and the larger the size of your marital estate, the more likely it is that your ex will have a motive to try to hide assets from you and the courts in a divorce.
What are some of the warning signs of hidden assets?
There are certain situations which make it easier or more likely for someone to attempt to hide assets. Does your spouse manage all the financial paperwork and not provide you with access to income or tax information? Have you ever seen a pay stub from their job?
When your spouse has always obfuscated their income or your family's finances, that could be a red flag warning you that they have always diverted assets into a hidden account or maintains properties and assets that you were never aware of and couldn't access.
Additionally, if you notice your spouse changing their financial habits or notice a reduction in the influx of money into a household account prior to the divorce, those could all be signs that your spouse has begun hiding assets. The point of hiding assets is to prevent the courts from dividing them and thereby deny one spouse their fair marital share of those assets.
How can you track down hidden assets?
Locating and putting a price on hidden assets won't always be easy. The first step is usually to get accurate copies of your household financial and tax paperwork.
If your spouse refuses to share those documents with you, you may have to formally request them through the court or possibly partner with a professional, like a forensic accountant, in order to locate accounts or assets that your spouse has tried to hide from you during your marriage or as divorce approaches. Locating those assets will be the first step toward ensuring a fair outcome as your divorce proceedings.