Divorcing couples face significant stress and numerous negotiations as they struggle through the process with the goal of starting a new, independent life. From child support and parenting time to property division and debt responsibility, the couple must navigate several compromises to reach a satisfying conclusion.
Unfortunately, an obstacle that often prevents a smooth property division process is hidden assets. A spouse who is concerned the other party could be hiding assets or debts can take numerous steps to uncover the full financial history of the couple, including:
- Monitor cash and credit card behavior: In one striking example, a spouse could be siphoning cash funds from either ATM activity or cash advances to hide away in a safe deposit box. While nefarious, this behavior leaves a paper trail a spouse should not overlook. By carefully examining these monthly statements – or live updates on financial apps – one spouse can uncover suspicious behavior.
- Examine tax returns: This could entail going back a few years to build a profile, but a spouse attempting to hide income or property will still have to list it on various tax return schedules. From income property to business holdings, one spouse can uncover various assets that might not have been mentioned during the divorce process.
- Investigate business accounts: Outside of the IRS tax return method, a spouse could closely examine paperwork associated with the family business. Whether this is a brick-and-mortar business or an online storefront, one spouse could attempt to hide assets or inflate losses to impact the overall financial picture.
- Evaluate new behaviors: In addition to stowing cash as mentioned above, an individual might choose to hide cash in plain sight. By handing cash payouts to friends in the form of “paying back a debt” or starting a college fund in a child’s name, the spouse could be stacking cash away for use after the divorce.
Splitting one household into two can often feel like an overwhelming experience. It is a challenge even under pristine conditions. Unfortunately, the task becomes even more difficult when one spouse attempts to hide assets or falsify debts to protect their independent financial position.