Hidden assets, assets that your spouse may try to hide or that you aren’t aware of, can make a big difference in your divorce case. Finding those assets might mean you receive a larger amount of money in a settlement or have access to an asset you didn’t realize you’d have.
Finding hidden assets isn’t always easy, though, because you may not even know they exist. Your spouse might have accounts that they hid from you or have purchased stocks that you never knew about. They might have intentionally taken assets and placed them somewhere you can’t find or spent down money in a way that doesn’t raise red flags but actually means you’ll get less as a result.
How can you find hidden assets in divorce?
If you are going to divorce, the first thing to do is to gather as many financial documents as you have access to. You may want to nonchalantly ask your spouse about retirement or stocks to see what they say and if they may have assets you didn’t realize they maintained.
After doing your own search, it’s time to work with a forensic accountant. A forensic accountant is someone who will use accounting and investigational skills to look at your finances and your spouse’s finances to find hidden or missing assets. These individuals are often used in cases of embezzlement and fraud, so they know what to look for when someone claims they don’t have assets that they do.
Forensic accountants can trace funds, identify assets, help you recover assets and will provide a detailed report to you, so you can be sure that all of your shared assets are on the table during divorce.
What happens if someone hides assets that are found after divorcing?
If your spouse intentionally hides assets that are discovered following your divorce, it is possible to ask to have the divorce settlement modified to reflect the new asset and the share you should have received. Courts do not look fondly on those who hide assets, so it’s possible that the asset could be transferred to the ex-spouse as a penalty. This is something you should consider if you believe an asset is missing now and it does turn up later.