Asset division is one of the most contentious aspects of divorce. Some spouses even attempt to conceal certain assets so they won’t be included during the division process. While this practice is highly unethical and even illegal, it can be difficult to locate hidden assets so they can be divided in a just and fair manner. If you’re concerned that your spouse is hiding assets, Forbes offers the following tips.
The first step is to understand just how people normally go about hiding assets from their spouses. Some people will manufacture debt that doesn’t exist to claim less in financial holdings than they actually have. In other cases, a person may deny a specific asset outright, or make a statement that it’s no longer in their possession. Some people will even attempt to give the asset away to a third party, which relieves them of ownership. Despite these tactics, evidence of hidden assets is often found within the home, so this is a good place to start looking.
Look through any documents pertaining to ownership of property. For example, a closing document related to the purchase of a home can be illuminating. In most cases, the buyer is obligated to provide a listing of assets, some of which he or she may be actively trying to hide. Also, take a look through documents kept within a home safe or other secure area. You might find proof of a property or other asset that you were previously unaware of.
You can also peruse your most recent tax return. Compare this against what your spouse is claiming in terms of ownership for your divorce proceedings. If you find anything suspicious, be sure to contact your attorney right away. It’s important to make the court aware of hidden assets so the proper actions can be taken.