Hidden assets during divorce cases are a significant issue. Divorce can be an agonizing experience, but it becomes even more challenging when your spouse isn’t disclosing their true wealth. This could lead to you being denied alimony or child support and the consequences of this often lead to further litigation, impacting you and your family. How can an asset search help to reveal hidden assets so that they are eligible in the divorce proceedings?
Understanding the financial affidavit
In divorce proceedings, each spouse prepares a financial statement. These statements detail all sources of income and expenses on paper. However, they may not be an accurate representation of the situation, because they are self-reported. That is why many people enlist the aid of private investigators when they suspect that a spouse is lying about their finances in an attempt to gain alimony, child support money, or to keep their true wealth concealed.
How does a private investigator investigate hidden assets in divorce cases?
The investigator may examine the party’s tax returns, bank statements, and W-2 forms to find any inconsistencies—for example, if one person says they earn only $2,000 a month as an accountant but no other financial statements to back it up. Once inconsistencies are found, the investigator may ask for proof of employment from the employer such as pay stubs and tax documents.
It is common for an investigator to uncover assets that one spouse has deliberately hidden from the other. These 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.
An asset search is useful 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, especially since they do not think anyone will verify their claims.
What is an asset search?
An asset search is an investigation and a report of various types of records to determine any type of assets owned by an individual or organization, such as corporations. They can include bank accounts, automobiles, property, businesses—even things like art, life insurance policies, trademarks, antiques, and patents.
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. Even if you have no reason to suspect that your spouse is hiding assets, it’s still a good idea to consider hiring an asset search firm. It may seem like an unnecessary expense, but it could potentially save you thousands of dollars in the long run.
If you have reason to believe that your spouse is hiding assets, consult with an attorney and begin working with a private investigator immediately. The sooner you begin the process of discovering hidden assets, the more likely it is that those assets can be included in your divorce case or that any fees incurred will be awarded to you in your settlement. Divorce can be difficult, but knowing how to find hidden assets may make the process a little easier.