When a marriage ends, it is not unusual for one or both people to feel angry, betrayed or scared. These and other emotions can drive them to make costly mistakes, like attempting to hide assets to shield them from division in divorce.
If you suspect your soon-to-be-ex-spouse could be trying to stand between you and a fair settlement, you can start looking for clues in certain places.
Your bank accounts
First, check your bank accounts. Look at recent transactions to see if there is anything unusual. Pay attention to changes in employment check deposit amounts or unexplained large withdrawals.
You can also check for mail or emails from banks you don’t typically use. This correspondence could be a red flag that your spouse created an account elsewhere without telling you.
Your tax documents can reveal a lot of information to help you find hidden assets. Look at recent returns and pay close attention to aspects like:
- Sources of income
- Foreign accounts
- Taxes for owned property
- Depreciation schedule
Checking your recent returns, as well as those filed before the divorce was imminent, can help you identify inconsistencies and undisclosed money.
Buying something expensive can make it easy for someone to hide that physical property or undervalue it. Often, people do this by buying things like furniture for their office, jewelry or collectibles. They might hide their purchase at a friend’s house or sell it right after the divorce to recoup their money.
Take a look at credit card transaction histories and keep an eye out for any new store cards your ex might have opened to make purchases without telling you.
Your partner’s internet history can tell you more than you might expect. If you share a computer, pay attention to URLs that autofill to sites like a foreign bank. You can also review their social media postings that might reveal information like big purchases and promotions. Just don’t cross the line into illegal surveillance or privacy violations.
Conducting a cursory investigation of your own could help you uncover suspicious financial activity, but it can also be wise to enlist the services of legal and financial professionals. These parties can more thoroughly examine your assets and liabilities to ensure your divorce settlement accurately reflects your situation.