Hidden assets in divorce cases are a huge problem. Divorce itself is tough to go through, but it becomes even more challenging when your ex-to-be isn’t disclosing their true wealth. This could lead to you not receiving the alimony or child support that you are entitled to. The consequences too often lead to further litigation, impacting you and your family.
The financial affidavit
When a couple goes through a divorce, each spouse will prepare a financial statement. This is an overview of every form of income and expense that each person has.
The problem with these statements, however, is that they are self-reported. One spouse may provide the other spouse with inaccurate information to try and gain more alimony or child support money. This is why many people turn to private investigators when they notice discrepancies in their financial statements.
The private investigator will go through the financial documents provided by both parties and look for anything that seems unusual or suspicious. For example, one party may say that they earn only $1,000 a month as an accountant but no other financial statements to back it up. The private investigator may then ask for proof of employment from the employer such as pay stubs and tax documents.
Sometimes the investigator may uncover assets that were purposely hidden from one party by the other party. These could include business assets, life insurance policies, inheritance properties, and retirement plans. All of these are considered marital property and must be split between both parties during a divorce case.
Conducting an asset search
Every divorce case should include an asset search by a professional investigator. If you know that your spouse is hiding assets from their financial statement, this step becomes even more important. Conducting an asset search ensures that all assets that are owned and eligible are on the table. An asset search reveals known assets and also reveals hidden assets.
A good asset search is instrumental in catching a spouse who is not being honest with the court or the other spouse during divorce proceedings. It is common for people to hide assets and cash, mainly because they don’t think anyone will take the steps to verify them.
An asset search helps uncover whether your spouse owns any secret bank accounts or other assets such as real estate properties or businesses that they may be keeping from you to prevent them from having to share them with you during divorce proceedings. A good investigator will be able to uncover these assets and expose them for what they are – hidden assets. Finding hidden assets can make the difference between a fair settlement and one that favors your spouse simply because you did not realize certain items were owned by them.
If you have a strong suspicion that your spouse is hiding assets, consult with your attorney and get started with a private investigator as quickly as possible. If you do this early enough, you may be able to include discovered assets in your case and be awarded the investigator or attorney fees incurred. Divorce is difficult, but knowing how to find hidden assets may make the process a bit easier.