Moving Out of State With a Child Custody Agreement

Uncovering Hidden Divorce Assets

by Layla Bryant

When a couple is happily married, hiding assets is not likely to enter your spouse's mind. Unfortunately, marriages that are coming to an end could cause a spouse to take protective actions. It's vital that you have an accurate accounting of all marital assets when going through a divorce. Read on to learn more about identifying marital property, signs of duplicity, and how to deal with hidden assets.

Identifying Marital Property

Almost anything that was bought during the marriage is considered marital property. For example, if you already owned that Mercedes before you married your spouse, it is still 100% your own property and is not subject to marital property rules. Many married couples own property jointly, particularly more valuable assets like homes and vehicles and those are all considered marital property. Items "gifted" to one party are not marital property nor are inheritances. If a spouse gives the other spouse a gift, things can get contentious. You should be prepared to prove that your beloved poodle was actually a gift from your spouse on your birthday and not a joint asset.

Signs of Duplicity

If you notice any of the below, your spouse might be hiding (or trying to hide) marital assets. These are assets that you have a legal right to share, depending on the marital property rules in your state.

1. You suspect your spouse is making more money than they profess. For example, they may be purchasing expensive items like electronics, clothing, cars, jewelry, etc. Gifts given to you may be welcome, but if you don't know where the funds for purchasing those gifts originated, you have reason to be suspicious.

2. You are not able to access online financial information on banking and investment sites that you previously had access to. Changed passwords to what used to be a joint account are an extremely worrisome red flag to watch out for.

3. You are unable to access safes, filing cabinets, or drawers in your home.

4. Unexplained absences.

5. And more.

Dealing With Suspicions of Hidden Assets

You don't have to be knee-deep in your divorce to expect full financial disclosure. If you have a need for child support or spousal support during your separation, you will need an accurate assessment of your spouse's income. Be sure to scrutinize the income and asset information obtained by the financial disclosure documentation returned by your spouse. If something seems fishy, your attorney can subpoena financial paperwork and use a forensic accountant to do a full investigation. Speak to your divorce attorney to learn more.