One of the issues that may be negotiated during a divorce is how to divide the financial assets of the couple into an equitable division. All too frequently, one party attempts to hide assets from the other party in an attempt to make their high-net monetary worth appear less than it actually is.
If you suspect your soon-to-be ex-spouse is not providing a true accounting of all of his or her finances, there are steps you can take to track down what they may be hiding.
One of the first places you should look is their tax returns. Although many people may lie to their ex about what they actually are worth, lying to the federal government is another matter. Request the last five years of returns and check them over carefully. Make sure the income listed on the returns is the same income your spouse has provided in their financial disclosures for the divorce. Also check any bank accounts, partnerships, trusts or property information.
Bank accounts are another key place to search for inconsistencies. Make sure to request copies of all accounts your spouse has, especially as the divorce process is taking place. Not only should you be looking for any past large expenditures on items you knew nothing about, but also check for any accounts that you were unaware of during your marriage.
Look to see if your spouse is suddenly paying off “debts” to family or friends. Many times, phony debts are created in order to deduct from the amount your spouse is actually worth. Another way spouses hide money is to set up bank accounts for the children, referred to as “custodial accounts.” If your spouse is suddenly focused on saving substantial money for your child’s college education, it could be a red flag of trying to avoid including those funds as part of the divorce settlement.
If your spouse has their own business, be aware of anyone who may be on the payroll that could be a “dummy employee” – another way they could be hiding assets. Also be aware if they have a business partner who would go along with any actions that would cause the net worth of the business to appear less than what it actually is.
If you are going through a high-net divorce and think your spouse is hiding assets, you need a skilled divorce attorney to help make sure you are awarded your fair share of the marriage estate. Contact an experienced DuPage County family attorney today.