Ending a marriage can be a daunting prospect, but it can be especially overwhelming when you are going through a divorce and suspect that your spouse is trying to hide assets from you. This situation can not only be potentially financially devastating, but it can also be an emotionally draining process if you discover that your partner has been deceiving you throughout the marriage.
It’s possible those assets could be in bank accounts, investments, real estate, or even luxury items such as cars or jewelry that were purchased without your knowledge. Finding these assets requires an intense level of investigation and legal expertise which can make the entire process even more exhausting. If your spouse has hidden assets from you, it’s important to understand that you are not alone. With an experienced divorce attorney in your corner, it is possible to uncover those hidden assets and fight for them to be included in any property division proceedings.
Why Is Hiding Assets during Divorce Illegal?
Hiding assets during a divorce can significantly alter the outcome of a divorce settlement. Without an accurate accounting of a married couple's assets and debts, it's impossible to reach a fair settlement, which means the spouse who was not honest could walk away with more than they are legally entitled to. This is why it’s very important to seek legal counsel if you suspect that your partner may be hiding assets during a divorce.
Where Can You Look If You Suspect Your Spouse Is Hiding Assets?
#1. Tax Returns
Tax returns can provide an accurate picture of your spouse’s income and financial situation for the last several years. They will also list any investments or real estate holdings that may have been acquired without your knowledge. Additionally, looking at past tax returns can give insight into any deductions or credits taken which could indicate possible hidden accounts or other sources of income not reported on the return itself.
Another important factor to consider when reviewing tax returns is any discrepancies between what was reported and the expenses listed on bank statements. This could indicate that your spouse has been depositing money into accounts that were not reported or paying for expenses with cash that would never show up on a return. It’s also worth noting that if you have access to your partner's credit report, it can be useful in uncovering debts or other liabilities they may have kept secret throughout the marriage.
#2. Bank Accounts
Another place to look when trying to uncover hidden assets during a divorce is your spouse's bank accounts. Bank accounts can provide insight into any transfers of money made throughout the marriage which could indicate potential sources of income or other financial activities that were kept secret.
It’s important to pay attention to any discrepancies between what is listed on the statement and what was reported on tax returns - this could be indicative of hidden assets or unreported income. It’s also important to note if there are large deposits or withdrawals that don't seem consistent with normal spending habits for that account. This could indicate that money was being transferred to or from another account, potentially one that is not listed as jointly owned. Additionally, if there are accounts in other names or with other institutions, this should be investigated further as it could reveal hidden assets and liabilities.
By taking the time to review your spouse’s bank statements, you can gain a better understanding of how much money has been flowing through the marriage and whether any of it may have been used to hide assets during divorce proceedings.
#3. Colleagues, Employers, Friends, and Family of Your Spouse
When trying to uncover hidden assets during a divorce, it can be helpful to look at the people closest to your spouse. Colleagues, employers, friends, and family members may have knowledge of any financial activities that were kept secret throughout the marriage. They could also provide insight into any potential investments or real estate holdings that you weren’t aware of. Colleagues and employers may be able to provide information regarding income earned by your spouse which was never reported on tax returns.
Talking with these individuals can help shed light on any suspicious activity or large transactions made without your knowledge. It’s important to remember though that most people won't want to get involved in a marital dispute, so it is best not to approach them directly but rather through an attorney who will know how best to handle such delicate situations.
#4. Business Records
When trying to uncover hidden assets during divorce proceedings, it’s important to pay attention to any businesses or investments held by either party throughout the marriage. This could be any type of business entity, such as a corporation, partnership, or limited liability company.
Your attorney will review both actual profits and losses from each venture but also any investments made or payments received that were never reported on tax returns. This could indicate that funds were being diverted away from joint accounts or used to purchase assets without your knowledge.
#5. Tax Assessor's Office
By researching property ownership records and other documents available from the tax assessor's office, you may be able to uncover any real estate holdings or investments that were kept secret throughout the marriage. One way to do this is by looking at property ownership records which will list any real estate owned by either party throughout the marriage. This could include primary residences as well as rental properties or vacation homes that may have been purchased without your knowledge. Additionally, these records can also provide information on mortgages taken out during the course of your relationship which could indicate potential sources of income not reported on joint tax returns.
At K. Dean Kantaras, P.A., we are dedicated to providing comprehensive legal support throughout all stages of the divorce process. Our team of experienced attorneys are committed to guiding you through the complexities of divorce and helping to ensure you reach a fair settlement. We understand how difficult it can be to navigate the legal system alone, which is why we are here to provide you with our assistance and expertise.
If you are worried that your spouse is hiding assets from you, don’t hesitate to contact us online or call us at (727) 939-6113 to schedule a consultation.