Getting a divorce is never an easy prospect. The longer you have spent with someone, the more closely intertwined your lives have likely become. Separating your personal and financial lives can be difficult. However, for couples with substantial marital assets, divorce can be particularly tricky.
It is not unheard of for one or even both spouses to attempt to hide assets from one another and the courts. While hiding assets in that manner is a violation of the law, that does not stop individuals from attempting to do so.
The greater the overall asset you and your spouse acquired during marriage, the greater the risk that they could engage in underhanded practices intended to deprive you of your fair share of marital assets. In other words, if you are facing a high asset divorce, you may want to adjust your strategy accordingly.
Secure financial records and plan to look closely
Locating hidden assets can sometimes be a matter of luck, such as finding a cache of cash. In most other cases, it will be persistence and careful attention to financial records that turn up a hidden asset. For example, a close review of bank account records could show routine transfers to an account you aren't aware existed.
You need copies of income and spending records for the length of your marriage, if possible. There could also be a record of a purchase from months or even years ago that represents a significant value.
Items ranging from a cabin to a vehicle could be one way for a spouse to hide substantial financial value in a physical asset you are unaware of. Others may hide money in a similar manner but in plain sight. Everything from jewelry to sports memorabilia can represent substantial value.
Although you may not have any interest in an aquamarine necklace or a vintage baseball card, knowing the value of the assets acquired during your marriage can help ensure a fair split of the overall marital estate. In the event that you suspect your spouse has hidden assets but you can't locate them, working with someone like a forensic accountant could help you find a financial paper trail that you cannot locate on your own.
Finding hidden assets is critical to a fair outcome
A major part of the divorce process is providing the courts with an inventory of your assets and debts. The courts then use those records to determine the best way to split your assets.
If the courts are unaware of significant items of value, they can't divide what you purchased and acquired during marriage fairly. Ensuring that you are aware of all assets is a critical first step toward a fair outcome to your divorce.