In the many asset recovery cases we work on, more of them are appearing in divorce settlement cases. One spouse suspects that the other has concealed assets which would otherwise be part of the separation settlement. Even for comparatively lesser amounts, a divorcing spouse may have personal reasons to withhold assets on principle.

Where most cases of asset concealment in judgement, fraud, or damages cases start in the upper six figures, we see spouses trying to hide as little as several thousand dollars, and many cases of concealed assets in the low five figures. Taking the time and effort to hide $10,000 seems counter productive, when the spouse may have been able to keep at least half of it anyway, but personal spite comes into play. Forbes Magazine ran a piece recently about Where Husbands Hide Assets, describing some of the ways cash is withheld from marital property distribution.

It won't be this easy to find.

In asset discovery we find that no matter how hard a subject works to hide cash or assets, there is always a documented trail to where it is hidden. The high level concealment skills used by expert narcotics traffickers and ponzi-schemers can be broken, so we can locate some cash squirreled away by a first-timer trying to keep an extra few grand.

Whether you are a party to a divorce or a family law attorney, have an investigator who specializes in asset recovery take a look at your file to check for signs of this. Be aware that asset recovery is different from collections. Collections is about bothering someone to get them to pay. Asset recovery is covertly discovering illegally held assets and simply seizing them. A few hundred spent to find thousands could be a good return on investment and make a significant difference for the settling party.

In one case we followed a party to determine that he was making many large purchases for cash. After documenting over $8,000 in 3 weeks, he was forced to tell the court where the money came from after having filed a financial affidavit in the divorce listing $500 in cash assets and no regular income. In another case a sales executive was found to be artificially lowering his sales numbers during the period when income was calculated to determine spousal maintenance. The firms regular clients were interviewed to find out the actual sales volume, and the subject was forced to higher alimony and legal fees for lying about it.