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Is Your Spouse Hiding Assets?



Is Your Spouse Hiding Assets?

When a client comes to see me to discuss divorce it is not unusual for me to hear “I think my spouse is hiding assets. I have no idea what assets we have, or where they are. What do I do?”

At many of my seminars, I advise couples getting married to pay attention to the family finances. Both Parties should know about the incoming assets, taxes, real estate etc. I encourage them not to be passive. You may be married to someone who’s abusive, controlling and paranoid. I always advise both Parties to take an active role and be an equal partner in all aspects of their marriage. It is your right as an equal partner to participate in making financial decisions, paying the bills, and maintaining financial records. Abusive relationships do not meet this test. It also puts you in a much better position if your marriage should unfortunately end in divorce.

If you are considering divorce, it is important to prepare yourself and it is in your best interest to know as much as possible about your finances. When it comes to divorce, no one likes an asset-hiding spouse. Especially the courts!

What are some of the telltale signs assets are being hidden?

  1. Your spouse is secretive about money;
  2. Your spouse demands and maintains control over money;
  3. Financial statements that once came to the home, disappear or are sent to the office;
  4. New financial accounts have been opened without explanation;
  5. Your spouse has opened a PO box;
  6. There have been some new “flashy” purchases (cars, watches, boats);
  7. You are asked to blindly sign documents without reading them first;
  8. Your spouse’s behavior has changed in how financial documents are filed or stored.

What types of assets can be hidden?

  1. Money (cash) ;
  2. Stocks;
  3. Bonuses;
  4. Pensions
  5. Real estate
  6. Inheritances
  7. Trusts;
  8. Cars, boats, antiques (housed by family and friends)

How can assets be hidden?

  1. Made up as gifts to family and friends (with the understanding it will be returned);
  2. Multiple Internet banking accounts-no statements mailed to the home;
  3. Use of a PO Box as mailing address;
  4. Safety deposit box at bank;
  5. Create corporations or business partnerships;
  6. Asking employers to delay bonuses;
  7. Foreign accounts;
  8. Overpaying the IRS;
  9. Coin, art, gun, jewelry, memorabilia collections.

How can you track down “hidden assets?”

To do this you should hire a divorce attorney, private investigator and/or a forensic accountant. Trained forensic specialists will be able to do a “ lifestyle analysis” by looking at many factors to determine if income is accurate by reviewing tax returns, W-2’s, investigating deferred salary, bank statements, commissions and bonuses. They will also scrutinize financial accounts, both here and abroad, payments to the IRS, and investments in real estate. In addition they can do extensive asset searches using computer forensics, obtain and review credit reports, and review irregular ATM activity.

With over 35 years of experience as a divorce attorney and as a psychologically-trained mediator I can tell you, if you think your spouse is hiding assets, it’s probably true! Trust your gut!

If you are concerned and fear your spouse is hiding money, and divorce may be where you are headed, call me. I can guide you on what to look for, how to investigate, and most importantly how to get financially prepared.

It is wise to know where all the assets are so that you can get the best financial outcome in your divorce.

Let me help you. 212.734.1551.