How Do You Uncover Hidden Assets in a Divorce?
While it is never easy to go through a divorce, uncovering that your spouse attempted the dirty divorce trick of hiding assets complicates the process even more. Unfortunately, spouses do engage in these types of tricks to avoid sharing assets with their husband/wife post-divorce. Fortunately, there are professional legal tools, services, and processes that can help you find hidden income and other assets. Today, we go over how to uncover whether your spouse is hiding any accounts or other important assets.
How to Find Assets if Your Spouse Is Covering Them Up
The first step in asset and property division during a divorce is to map out a complete financial picture of all the assets you and your spouse own as well as what you own together. If your spouse took care of the finances (including bills, bookkeeping, mortgage payments, and more) during your marriage, you will probably not have access to that financial information or may not know where to find it.
In this case, you are what is often referred to as an “out-spouse.” In this case, you will need to request copies of all your financial records from your spouse. If your spouse refuses to give them to you, this is a sign he/she may be hiding something from you. If you feel your spouse may be doing this, you will need to consult with an attorney who has experience with asset search and investigation.
Go Through the Divorce Discovery Process
One way to obtain the financial information you need during your divorce is to go through the formal discovery process. This process will entail a document demand, where your attorney will ask your spouse for documents, such as tax returns, financial statements, bank account records, and more.
Your spouse will also be asked questions to determine if he/she is hiding any assets. You can also request an inspection demand and inspect property such as a safety deposit box. You and your spouse will then go through an oral deposition where you both will be asked questions and must respond to them truthfully. You cannot lie under oath or you will have committed an act of perjury, so this is a sure way to get your spouse to tell the truth.
The discovery process is an effective way to obtain financial information from an uncooperative spouse as the court provides you with assistance. Additionally, your spouse could be punished by the court for refusing to comply.
Which Documents Should You Request During the Discovery Period?
You will want to ask for the following documents during the discovery period to determine if your spouse is hiding assets:
- Tax returns
- Copies of bank account statements (including savings and checking accounts)
- Copies of debt statements
- Loan documents
- Receipts for expensive purchases
- Title records/deeds
- Stock certificates
- Investment income documents
- Retirement accounts
- Copyright and patent documents
- W2 documents or documents that prove income from wages
- Profit and loss reports from a business/business
- Estate and trust documents
Your lawyer can provide you with additional support as you may need to request more information, depending on the circumstances of your case.
What to Do if You Suspect a Hidden Bank Account
You and your attorney can send a subpoena to any bank if you suspect that your spouse has an account there that they did not tell you about. This bank is required to produce all records associated with your spouse’s name. If the bank does not do this, it can be held in contempt of court.
Once you get this information, review the records, and look for unusual transactions or transactions from a known bank account to an unknown bank account and vice versa.
If you have questions about uncovering hidden assets in your divorce case, contact an experienced lawyer from our firm online or by calling our Jason M. Barbara & Associates, P.C. at (516) 406-8381.