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How can people locate hidden assets in complex divorces?

On Behalf of | Apr 18, 2024 | Family Law

Some divorces processes are simple and straightforward. The spouses may have already entered an agreement with one another about what happens when they divorce or they have minimal assets to divide. Other divorces are more complex, possibly because of financial success or longer-term marriages.

Those preparing for a complex divorce may have hundreds of thousands of dollars in marital resources to divide, which can make property division negotiations more of a challenge. There is more incentive in such cases than in the average divorce for one spouse to hide assets or otherwise try to manipulate property division proceedings.

Hidden assets can deprive someone of a fair outcome to property division proceedings. How do those who feel concerned about the possibility of hidden assets find resources that their spouse may have tried to hide from them and the courts?

Through formal financial discovery

The discovery process during a divorce requires that each spouse make disclosures to the other about their personal property and their debts. Such disclosures also go to the courts if the spouses litigate. The documents provided likely include financial records, tax paperwork and an inventory of assets. Some people can uncover hidden assets on their own by going over what their spouses disclose during the divorce process.

With the help of a financial specialist

When someone has a marital estate that contains hundreds of thousands of dollars in different resources ranging from retirement savings to equity in a home, going over financial records independently may not be a viable solution. Some people bring in financial professionals to assist them with this process. A forensic accountant can be a very useful addition to the team supporting someone during a divorce. These professionals can analyze financial records and may be able to find discrepancies that indicate misconduct. In some cases, they can actually locate hidden assets, such as secret bank accounts.

After someone locates hidden assets, they can use that information as they move forward with their divorce process. A judge might even penalize the spouse who attempted to hide marital assets. Complex or high-asset divorces result in numerous unique considerations for people to address. Preparing for a high-asset divorce often requires that someone review their financial circumstances very carefully as a result.