If you are going through a Florida divorce and believe your spouse could be hiding assets, then it is important to not automatically assume your divorce attorney will look for hidden assets. You must be proactive in this situation.
Inform your divorce attorney that you suspect assets are being hidden. Never take your spouse’s word that they are not.
Five Ways to Find Hidden Assets
While you will want to inform your divorce attorney about the possibility of your spouse hiding assets, there are ways you can do some checking on your own. You could perform the following actions:
- Check Tax Returns – Tax returns are the best place to start. You may not immediately think about checking tax returns, assuming your spouse would not be so blatant. However, the majority of people fear IRS penalties, fines, or even prison. Therefore, they are often truthful on their tax returns. Go back at least five years to search for inconsistencies. You may want to look particularly hard at real estate holdings, partnerships, and trusts when pursuing your past income tax forms. In particular, look at the Schedule A Itemized Deductions, Schedule B Interest and Dividends, Schedule C Profit or Loss from Business, Schedule D Capital Gains and Losses, and Schedule E Supplemental Income and Loss.
- Check Past Checking and Savings Account Statements – Look through past checking and savings account statements. Canceled checks can be revealing, particularly in bringing investment properties bought by your spouse, without your knowledge, to light. A savings account could reveal any unusual withdrawals or deposits. Make sure you have copies of all pertinent financial documents before you and your spouse separate or file for divorce.
- Speak to Employer – Consider talking to your spouse’s boss. It is possible he or she could be persuaded by your spouse to delay an earned bonus until after your divorce is finalized. This bonus could be in the form of retirement benefits, pay raises, or stock options. By delaying such bonuses, the money would not be considered during divorce negotiations, creating an inequitable asset distribution.
- Check Phony Debts – A spouse’s friends or family members could help them hide assets through a phony “debt” that your spouse would then “repay” with marital funds. The money would be returned to your spouse after the divorce is final. You may run into a brick wall when asking those friends or family members about such a debt. However, if you suspect this occurred, tell your Melbourne divorce attorney. He or she can request information about the “debt” in order to determine its validity.
- Check Loan Applications – Take advantage of your courthouse when you are looking for a spouse’s hidden assets. Perhaps your spouse borrowed money recently. If so, his or her loan application could be on file, complete with a list of assets necessary to obtain the loan.
Contact Our Melbourne Divorce Attorneys
If you believe your spouse is hiding assets, it is important to let your Melbourne divorce attorney know so he or she can dig deeper into your spouse’s finances. Our office is conveniently located in Melbourne, Florida and we serve all of Brevard County. You can call the Law Office of Jeffrey Thompson for a consultation by calling (321)253-3771.