Those who live on paycheck-to-paycheck basis won’t usually be in a position to hide assets from their spouses. Every dollar that comes into the household is likely already earmarked to pay certain bills. However, once a family reaches financial stability and has the ability to save, it becomes possible for either spouse to engage in financial misconduct or infidelity.
Unless you have a marital agreement, you and your spouse should share your assets and income during your marriage. You also have to honestly disclose your assets to each other and the courts if you file for divorce.
More income and assets mean that it will be easier for your spouse to try to hide assets in your divorce. Watching for the warning signs of hidden assets below can help you find those assets and secure a fair outcome in your divorce.
Your spouse refuses to provide income or banking information
When one spouse stonewalls the other’s request for basic financial documents, that is a major warning sign of potential financial misconduct. Missing, altered or destroyed records mean you will have to check everything that much more closely. Your ex would not deny you basic financial records if they had nothing to hide.
There is income that you did not know about before filing
Many spouses don’t know the exact details of one another’s employment. They may have a ballpark idea of how much their spouse earns but may not ever involve themselves in the details.
It might only be when you start reviewing financial documentation for your divorce that you realize there were thousands of dollars in income every year that you didn’t know about and that didn’t go into your joint bank accounts.
There are assets missing from the inventory, or their value is far too low
The disclosure of your assets is an important part of the negotiation process prior to court. You and your spouse should each provide the other with a thorough record of your personal possessions and their current fair market value.
Although it is normal for people to try to minimize how much they share with their spouse in a divorce, your ex failing to report the antique furniture in their office or undervaluing their vehicle by $10,000 is a red flag that they intend to manipulate the property division process by hiding specific assets or their values.
If you believe that your spouse may have hidden accounts or assets that they did not disclose to you, partnering with a forensic accountant or similar financial specialist may be an important step as you prepare for your divorce. After all, you can only arrange for a fair outcome in a high-asset divorce if you actually know what assets you share.