Looking for hidden marital assets

| Dec 9, 2020 | Property Division

Contested divorces and unhappy marriages can bring out the worst in a spouse such as their failure to disclose assets. When this occurs, it is necessary to develop a plan to find hidden assets and assure full disclosure, especially in a high-asset divorce.

Hiding methods for married spouses

A spouse may hide money by opening a bank account in the other spouse’s name and place the money in that account. Generally, banks do not hesitate to open these accounts if the spouses are still married and have existing accounts and relationships with the bank. The other spouse may ignore statements that come to their home or may not have access to statements by email.

Cryptocurrencies are another method. More ATMs allow people to deposit money and obtain bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies.

Warning signs of hidden assets include a spouse being vague about finances and how bills are being paid. They also reject input from their other spouse and become controlling. The other spouse may also reject attempts to fully discuss the couple’s finances with a financial professional.

Tax filings are another warning signing. A spouse can file the returns electronically without the other spouse’s review and signature.

What to do

First, do nothing that places you in danger. Seek assistance if your spouse becomes angry, threatening, and violent.

Next, collect information and financial documents. Take photographs of every tax and financial document that you locate.

Immediately photograph any bank accounts, insurance, investment, retirement fund and similar statements as they come in the mail because your spouse can take them away. Other important information includes vehicle titles, real estate documents, safety deposit box keys, safe information, passports, driver’s license, and health records.

Tax returns are an important piece of information. Getting hard copies of these documents is the best method.

If filed electronically, you will have to go to an Internal Revenue Service office and ask for copies. But the other spouse may be notified if they executed the return as the primary name on the account.

An attorney can recommend options and provide guidance on planning for divorce and locating assets. They can also use applicable legal procedures to gather this information and protect your rights.