Hiding assets, or attempting to hide assets from a spouse is not uncommon, particularly as a marriage crumbles. In some instances, what has always been “our money” during the marriage becomes “my money” in the minds of some divorcing spouses.
A poll by the OnePoll organization revealed 37% of the 2,000 poll respondents in a relationship hide money from their spouse or partner. This fact may make people in disintegrating marriages wonder: Where do I look for hidden assets or evidence of their existence?
Tax returns, public records and inside your home
If you suspect that your spouse hides assets, here are some places to look:
- Tax returns: Thoroughly review (or have an accountant review) and compare current and past years’ tax records. While your spouse may willingly hide assets from you, he or she likely would be quite reluctant to do so from the IRS. The returns could indicate the existence of real estate purchases, evidence of rental properties, business acquisitions, dividends from mutual funds, etc.
- Bank statements: Checking and savings accounts may hide an abundance of information. You may discover curious withdrawals and deposits along with unusual expenditures or transfers of funds.
- Public records: If you suspect your spouse owns undisclosed real estate, search land records in the counties or regions where you suspect to find the property. Also, if your spouse is a city or state employee, you may find his or her annual income from public records.
- Social media sites: Some spouses are so bold as to purport to their spouse to be in a dire financial situation yet post to the contrary on social media and having pictures of lavish items, vacations, etc can aid in researching community assets or where funds may have been spent or even wasted.
- Inside your home: Safe deposit boxes may be hidden in your home. You also may find evidence of safe deposit boxes housed at banks. Do not forget that your spouse may hide cash, savings bonds and other valuables in various places around the house.
- Evidence of debt repayment for non-existing debt: You cannot repay a debt that never existed. If this occurs, it is highly likely that your spouse has teamed with a relative or friend to hide money.
- Credit card statements: These documents may provide evidence that your spouse spends money on a paramour, provides overpayments designed to hide assets, or owns items not previously disclosed.
Trust your instincts if you suspect your spouse is hiding assets and be thorough in your search.
Certain professionals may help you uncover assets
Divorce may bring out the worst behavior in some people. In certain situations, a spouse may attempt to hide marital assets. With the help of certain professionals such as an experienced attorney and a forensic accountant, private investigator or other specialist in locating assets, you may uncover them.