Couples divorce for a variety of reasons, but one common feeling that usually begins before the end of a marriage is a lack of trust. Once mistrust enters the picture, it’s also common that spouses believe the other may be hiding assets from them.

Finding those resources, or at least investigating your suspicions, is essential for you to be treated fairly before your marital property is divided. The first step is to take inventory of all property owned by you and your spouse.

Typical ways to hide assets

If you believe your soon-to-be-ex partner is concealing property, there are ways to find them. Here are four common ways spouses stash assets:

  • Transferring ownership to a third party
  • Creating false debt
  • Claiming the asset was lost
  • Denying that an asset exists

Scour tax returns for red flags

Proving that your spouse is hiding assets can be complicated, but a paper trail can lead you to them. A good place to begin is previous tax returns:

  • Itemized deductions – Schedule A: You can uncover undisclosed sources of income here. For example, deductions for property taxes can reveal hidden attributes.
  • Interest and Dividends – Schedule B: After taking inventory for assets that generate interest and dividends, compare your list to this form to identify unfamiliar assets.
  • Business profit or losses – Schedule C: Depreciated property can reveal assets related to a spouse’s business interests.
  • Capital gains and losses – Schedule D: Identify any new property or the disappearance of previously disclosed assets by losses from securities and other investments, such as real estate, stocks and bonds.
  • Supplemental income and loss – Schedule E: Income or losses from rental properties, partnerships, royalties and S corporations can reveal hidden assets.

Protect your future with knowledgeable legal advice

Finding hidden assets during a divorce can be difficult and involve scouring complicated legal and financial documents. But, don’t forget other hiding spots, such as safe deposit boxes, home safes and other places in your home. An experienced family law attorney here in Texas can help you through the process and will aggressively represent your interests for a favorable outcome, whether it’s achieved through mediation, negotiation or in court.