Spousal Support | How to Find Hidden Assets
by Vanessa Soto Nellis
When it comes to spousal support, bitter feelings sometimes prompt people to take negative action. In order to lash out or get back, some spouses will attempt to hide assets or refuse to fully disclose the value of them.
And sometimes, people just forget. (Check out my last blog, Divorce and Money – Overlooked Assets, to get an idea of what you should be looking for in this situation.)
In either case, an experienced divorce attorney can help. You and your spouse will need to draw a complete financial picture of your community and separate property so your attorneys can divide your assets properly.
Protecting Your Interests During the Division of Assets Process
So what are the most common ways for your spouse to hide funds or property? The most common is collusion – your spouse’s efforts to conspire with others to hide money. Opportunities for collusion can come through:
- Business: Your spouse may ask an employer to delay payments on bonuses or raises until after your divorce. If your spouse owns a business, s/he could pay salary to an employee who doesn’t exist, report purchases for services, equipment or supplies that never get delivered, inflate expenses, or temporarily turn down contracts in an effort to reduce annual earnings.
- Family Members: If blood is thicker than a sense of ethics, your spouse’s family could be holding cash, physical assets and other items. They could also be the recipients of a hefty “loan” which won’t be paid back until after your divorce.
- Friends: Is your spouse suddenly close to a new friend? A girlfriend or boyfriend may be helping to hide assets. Social media can be helpful in uncovering the truth, and remember that it is important to maintain active relationships with your own friends and family to help in this effort. Now is not the time to withdraw socially, you need to be alert and engaged, especially if you don’t trust your spouse to be honest about finances.
Your divorce attorney will know good forensic accountants who can help find hidden assets, especially if your soon-to-be ex owns a business. The key is for you to be proactive in this situation. Stay organized and alert, and you’ll minimize the financial consequences of your divorce.
Vanessa Soto Nellis is a Divorce and Divorce Mediation Attorney with 10 years’ experience at our Firm. Contact her via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.