I Think My Spouse Is Hiding Assets. What Should I Do?

When a couple divorces, both sides are required to provide one another with a full disclosure of all their finances and assets. The list of documents both sides are required to produce is quite lengthy and includes the past three years’ worth of tax returns, recent pay stubs, property deeds, bank account statements, mortgage statements, pension plan documentation, and more.

Although it may seem burdensome to turn over all these documents, financial disclosures allow both sides to make informed decisions about child support, spousal support, and property division. When an individual inaccurately reports his or her assets in a divorce, it can create an unfair result. It’s unlawful to conceal assets in a divorce, but that unfortunately doesn’t stop people from doing it.

What Are the Indications a Person Is Hiding Assets?

Although you may believe your spouse is concealing assets, it’s important to take a step back and really examine his or her behaviour. Accusing your spouse of hiding financial information without any evidence to support your position can create tension in your case and make it more difficult to reach an amicable agreement.

Consider whether your spouse is displaying any signs that he or she is hiding assets. Some common indicators include:

  • Paying a “loan” to a friend or family member, especially when you had no knowledge your spouse had borrowed money
  • A suddenly enhanced lifestyle
  • Paying for most things with cash
  • Opening accounts in the children’s names
  • An unexpected work bonus or sudden pay raise

According to a recent Forbes article, a suspicion of hidden assets can quickly complicate a divorce case. As the article states: “With the complexity of the family finances and the sophistication of asset protection strategies, spouses might feel like they need a treasure map to find buried assets.”

If you believe your spouse is concealing assets, it’s important to consult a family law lawyer about your case. Although you have a legal right to know the full extent of your spouse’s assets, an experienced lawyer knows how to properly investigate and locate concealed assets. More importantly, working with a lawyer ensures any evidence of hidden assets is properly authenticated and admissible in court.