Sometimes once a spouse notifies the other of their plans to divorce, the
landscape isn't exactly trust-based from there on out. It is not unusual
for the spouse who initiated the divorce to have been concealing assets
for some time before they filed for
If your spouse recently told you that they want a divorce, it's normal
to wonder how long he or she has been thinking about it and to suspect
that they may have hidden assets.
Conversely, it ispossible that your spouse hasn't hidden anything from
you, but it's in your best interests to find out for certain, especially
if you are the "out-spouse," the one who played little to no
part in handling the finances.
Are you the out-spouse?
If you're the "out-spouse," the first thing you should do
is ask your spouse for copies of all the financial records. If they produce
all of the records, the process may not be that bad. Unfortunately though,
that's rarely the case.
Sometimes a spouse can't locate the records. If they can't find
the documents, you can work together to track down all of the information.
With everything being available online these days, it's not difficult
to get account records.
Places to Look for Hidden Assets
If your spouse is less than cooperative, here are some places to look for
- Look at the credit card statements, are there any unusual transactions?
- Look at the checkbook register. Do you notice any odd payments to friends
or family? This is a common strategy among spouses who plan to void checks
or have the money returned later.
- If your spouse has a business, are they paying nonexistent employees?
- Look over the balances of your children's savings accounts and trust
funds. Are the balances right?
- Did your spouse receive their expected bonuses or raises? Your spouse could
have arranged to have that money put on hold until after the divorce is
- Review all investment account statements and interest on municipal bonds.
If you think it's necessary, we recommend that you talk to a reputable
forensic accountant who can help you trace hidden assets. In addition
to that, much can be learned from the discovery process.
If your spouse doesn't voluntarily disclose all the financial information,
we can use formal, legal processes to get the information and documents
from him or her.
Contact a Los Angeles divorce attorney from Claery & Green, LLP.