What to Do When a Spouse is Hiding Assets During the Divorce Process

divorce lawyerEven the most straightforward divorce can be financially and emotionally difficult. This is especially true when divorcing spouses have young children and share a significant number of assets.

In a high-asset divorce, there are lots of complications regarding retirement accounts, investments, real estate, and family businesses. These matters complicate an already difficult process, but what makes things even more complicated is when one spouse tries to hide assets from the other.

Suspicious bank statements, a sudden lack of funds, and unexplained discrepancies in the family business records—these things are telltale signs, but chances are you don’t know what to do.

Fortunately, here’s a quick to-do list:

Talk to an Experienced Lawyer

Your attorney should have the experience in handling divorce cases wherein one of the parties is hiding assets. By working with an experienced lawyer, you’ll know that you have someone committed to looking out for your best interest, and at the same time bound by the rules of confidentiality to protect you.

Gather Significant Evidence

Make copies of all suspicious documents, as well as all other financial information and keep them in a place where your spouse can’t find them. According to Miller & Steiert, this will give your lawyer a valuable starting point to track down assets.

Assets usually hidden include the likes of cash, bonds, stocks, mutual funds, and traveler’s checks. Conversions of cash into personal property, such as luxury vehicles, art, antiques, jewelry, and collectibles are also possibilities; start from here.

Stay Calm; Don’t Panic

It’s normal to be hysterical when you realize your spouse may be hiding assets from you, but don’t panic. You may feel betrayed and robbed, and it’s natural, but you have to remember that no method of hiding is permanent.

Once your lawyer knows what’s missing, they can simply notify the court. The court will then require the hidden assets to be brought into light and handled properly during the divorce.

Some spouses really attempt to hide assets to avoid sharing them with their soon-to-be ex, especially if they have been planning the divorce for quite a while. It happens. This doesn’t mean, however, that you shouldn’t do anything about it. After all, you don’t want to be on losing end when it comes to the family’s finances.

About the Author

As a New York-based psychologist. Thelma Scott has conducted several seminars tackling adult autism.