Hidden Assets: Is Your Spouse Hiding Money?
Uncovering hidden assets leaves a bad taste in your mouth. It’s easy to feel angry, confused, and upset when you discover that your spouse is hiding money from you during a divorce. On its own, the process is difficult enough already. When you have suspicions about whether your spouse is hiding assets, it makes the process all the worse.
The reality is that life is hectic. As the days fly by, the world moves around us in a flash. Unfortunately, that makes it fairly easy for someone to hide assets from their spouse. Moreover, it’s pretty common.
When you know something is off and start to connect the dots, it’s time to consider your options. If you have unconfirmed suspicions but feel quite certain, a Houston family law expert has the resources and options to help you work through this difficult time.
What to Do When You Suspect Hidden Assets
What do you do when you suspect your spouse has hidden assets? Unfortunately, there’s no standard answer for this question. Typically, your options depend on your particular situation. For instance, when a wife believes her husband is hiding assets or charging undisclosed expenses to a joint bank account, the answer is simple. Request bank statements from your bank.
However, when they have independent accounts you can’t access or assets you aren’t aware of, it becomes more difficult.
How to Uncover Hidden Assets
When you want to bring undisclosed assets to light, there are a few methods. Our family law experts can work with you. When you understand your options and have an advocate on your side, it makes the process much easier.
Credit Reports and Bank Accounts
Hardly anyone checks their bank statements and credit reports on a daily basis. For the most part, people only look to them when making large purchases or payments. Unfortunately, that makes it easy for someone to hide assets in a bank account.
Moreover, your spouse might open a new bank account under their name. This account limits your access and knowledge, assuming you know about it at all. In the divorce process, your spouse might attempt to make small transfers from a joint account into this new account.
Oftentimes, these small transfers go unnoticed. However, they add up over time. That’s why it is essential to keep an eye on your joint bank accounts throughout the divorce process.
In addition to this type of transfer, your spouse may attempt to transfer money to a family member. This makes it yet more difficult to raise suspicions. If you have children, some spouses even open a bank account in a child’s name and begin to transfer funds into that account.
The most efficient, effective way to prevent hidden assets in new bank accounts is to carefully monitor your joint account. Look for small, consistent transfers to unfamiliar accounts.
Additionally, it’s important to keep an eye on credit reports and credit statements. Oftentimes, people don’t concern themselves over credit reports until they want to make a big purchase – a house, a car, etc.
However, credit reports carry a lot of details. As such, they provide clues to new bank accounts, loans, or property assets. When you want to monitor your credit report for hidden assets, there are several safe, free ways to look at it and investigate any changes.
The next level of this is for a spouse to purchase effects and disguise them as hidden assets. For instance, such a purchase includes a new car, watch, art pieces, or furniture. When asked, they simply claim it’s something they need. However, it’s essential to be careful.
These purchases give them an advantage after the divorce. In other words, they purchase these things now to sell them for funds later on. With this in mind, it’s important to look for new purchases and maintain a record. In this record, track the items, costs, and dates of purchase.
As society trends towards a paperless world, there are certain documents we receive from banks, the IRS, and mortgage companies. When you know your spouse keeps these documents in secret or “safe” areas, a quick look may confirm your suspicions.
Among bank statements, property titles, or stock certificates, you might discover hidden assets. Typically, it’s simple to hide these documents as you store them away. This is because we tend not to look for things when we don’t have a reason to. It’s a simple yet effective way to uncover hidden assets.
A Word of Caution
If you choose to seek out hidden documents, be sure to stick to areas you have access to. Going through a drawer or safe in your home is one thing. However, rifling through an office at their work or hacking into online accounts creates problems.
Remember, marriage does not mean you have access to your spouse’s electronic accounts – unless they provide it.
At times, it’s easy to uncover hidden assets as you look through your spouse’s spending habits or documents around the house. However, it is essential to find professional help to confirm your suspicions.
When you suspect your spouse is hiding assets, the first thing to do is contact your family law attorney. Divorce proceedings often last a long time because they are complex. However, it becomes more confusing and complex when someone has hidden assets.
Oftentimes, spouses go to extreme measures to keep assets under the radar or act with extreme caution to remain discrete. That’s why it’s important to work with an experienced specialist.
With the right help, you have everything you need to uncover hidden assets. When you have a family lawyer, they work closely with other specialists to ensure all assets come to light. We want to ensure equitable distribution during the divorce process.
Your attorney’s main priority during the equitable distribution phase is to ensure you receive an equal, fair share of all marital property. Often, hidden assets complicate this because your spouse might clear or close accounts, obtain new loans, or sell a property and spend the assets.
This makes it difficult to trace assets down to every penny. However, your attorney is there to help you in the process. Before you agree to an equitable distribution agreement, they work diligently to uncover as many assets as possible.
When You Discover Hidden Assets
One of the first things your attorney might suggest is to serve your spouse with discovery. In the discovery phase, your family law attorney has the power to request and require your spouse to disclose every asset.
Oftentimes, we take this first step because it gives your spouse a chance to disclose hidden assets upfront. Your spouse’s attorney then discusses this with them, often advising them to disclose any assets they’ve hidden.
If they fail to respond to discovery, your attorney has the option to file for additional sanctions.
Do You Suspect Hidden Assets? Call Our Family Law Attorneys
At Nguyen & Chen, we are a team of problem solvers. When you need help to ensure a smooth, fair divorce process, our team is here to act as your advocates. We fight for your future to ensure you have everything you need in the next phase of your life.
When you discover hidden assets, it is essential to speak with an attorney as soon as possible. If your spouse gets away with this, it’s difficult to trace these back to your marriage after finalizing the divorce.
Schedule a free consultation with our attorneys to discuss any and all of your suspicions. Let us help you plan every step to help you recover any and all assets.