Sometimes, by the time people get divorced, they do not even recognize each other anymore. Over the years, a sense of mistrust might have festered. Misgivings about your spouse and his or her motivations often contribute to the decision to file for divorce. As the divorce drives you two even further apart, it becomes easier and easier to keep things from each other. This is when hidden assets become an even greater possibility. If you suspect your spouse might be hiding assets from you and your attorneys, what should you do? There are a few things that require further investigation from you and your lawyers to make sure no asset is left buried.
What to Do During the Hunt for Hidden Assets
Financial fraud during divorce is much easier to commit than it is to expose. There is quite a bit of detective work that goes into finding those hidden assets, bringing them to light, and enabling them to be divided along with other marital property during a divorce. Here are some ways you and your lawyer might be able to hunt for hidden assets:
Take an Inventory—Collect all of the financial documentation for both you and your spouse. Be very thorough and organized in your collection of this paperwork. You need to have a strong baseline to judge your financial picture against that of your spouse. If you notice specific inconsistencies, then you know where to look first for possible hidden assets.
Study Tax Returns—Tax returns can reveal a great deal about a spouse’s financial history. By comparing tax returns from year to year, you and your attorney will be able to more easily decipher the data and discover hidden assets. For instance, there could be some itemized deductions (on Schedule A); interest and dividends (on Schedule B); business profits or losses (on Schedule C); capital gains and losses (on Schedule D); or supplemental income and losses (on Schedule E) that can indicate what might be missing from the finances your spouse is reporting.
Review Mortgage Documentation—When you apply for a mortgage, you must report all of your finances. The underwriters put you through a comprehensive and stringent auditing process that provides a clear and in-depth picture of your finances. They cannot give you and your spouse that mortgage without such detailed due diligence. That is why those papers are so important to your search for hidden assets. There might be assets or properties reported there that were not reported during the divorce.
Conduct a Physical Search—Both actual property and paper trails leading to certain assets might be found in physical locations where you and your spouse keep important items. Consider conducting a search of safes, safe deposit boxes, and other typical “hiding spots” for important possessions.
How Will Your Lawyer Help with the Hunt?
In addition to helping you with all of the aforementioned ways to find hidden assets, your lawyer can also do the following:
Engage in Aggressive Research—Many lawyers are accustomed to searching for—and locating—hidden assets during divorces. They know exactly where to look and how to optimize their research.
Enlist the Help of Industry Experts—Your lawyer may work with a forensic accountant who will review your and your spouse’s tax returns for any inconsistencies. They will investigate your respective financial histories to make sure every last cent is accounted for. If they cannot locate something, they will attempt to find it and arrange for it to be included in your divorce case.
Subpoenas—When you, your lawyer, or financial experts need additional support for your findings, or when you suspect further financial culpability on the part of your spouse, your lawyer has the right to subpoena banks and other similar institutions for supplemental records.
Contact a Wheaton, IL Asset Division Lawyer
The hunt for hidden assets can be long and involved. That is why you need a skilled DuPage County divorce attorney on your side to make sure you leave no financial documents buried. With the assistance of Andrew Cores Family Law Group, you will be able to track down all those hidden assets that you have a hunch about. Call 630-871-1002 for a free consultation.