What to do About Hidden Assets During the Divorce Process

One of the most basic elements of every divorce is the process of equitable distribution of assets. Both spouses need to provide comprehensive and truthful lists of all of their assets and debts, as well as their expenses. This information is then used to distribute marital property fairly between the two. It is an unfortunate fact of life that divorce can evoke a need to “win” or to “defeat” the soon-to-be-ex-spouse, and as a result, one or both members of a couple often try to hide what they truly have, either to keep more assets for themselves or to cheat the other out of what the law says that they deserve. This can be done in many ways, including:

  • Undervaluing marital property
  • Hiding assets
  • Underreporting income
  • Overstating expenses or debts

Hiding assets during a divorce process represents more than preventing your spouse from getting what they are entitled to: it is also lying to the courts that can end up backfiring.

In many instances, a spouse about to file for divorce can anticipate that their partner will be likely to try to hide assets once they are given notice that the marriage is ending. If you have the opportunity, it is a good idea to make copies of all financial statements that come into the house for a few months prior to actually filing, and if you have already notified your spouse, to try to locate those documents – as long as doing so does not involve hacking into their email or breaking into a safe or similarly private location to which you have no rightful access.

Not only is it important for you to be completely honest when preparing your own financial statement, but you also need to immediately notify your divorce attorney if you believe that your husband or wife is being deceptive on the financial documents that they have provided so that they can quickly begin a thorough discovery process on your behalf. This may end up requiring a careful lifestyle analysis that examines spending habits, or even a forensic accountant who can track where monies have been spent.

Going through a divorce can bring out the very worst in people, especially when it comes to financial issues. If you need advice in how best to navigate ending your marriage, contact our experienced divorce attorneys today to set up a time for a consultation.