During your marriage, your spouse might have managed your household’s finances. As you two prepare to divorce, you will likely hope they will be transparent about these during proceedings. Yet, they may have acquired significant assets while you were together – whether with or without your knowledge – which they may try to hide.
In New York, any assets acquired during your union qualify as marital property. If you suspect your spouse is hiding assets from you, you must know your options for uncovering them.
Understanding the discovery process
Before divorce proceedings begin, you and your spouse will go through the discovery process. During this process, you have the opportunity – with the help of your attorney – to obtain crucial information from your spouse, including financial records. These records may include bank statements, tax returns and loan applications.
Once your spouse turns their financial records over, you will want to review them for any signs of hidden assets. Tax returns, in particular, can provide evidence of these, since they may reveal business income, investment income, real estate income or foreign accounts that you were in the dark about. If you and your attorney uncover these assets, you may want to work with a forensic accountant to track down further information about them.
Other ways to find hidden assets
While the discovery process can be helpful in uncovering hidden assets, you will also want to know where you can look on your own. Your spouse may be hiding assets in plain sight, and all it takes to find them is knowledge of where they may be. Some signs they may be doing so include:
- Purchasing expensive items – like cars, boats or artwork – with the plan of converting them to cash after your divorce
- Giving away assets to family and friends
- Delaying earnings, a bonus or a promotion until divorce proceedings end
- Writing false paychecks – if they own a business – to employees and voiding them once divorce proceedings end
No one deserves to lose out on their share of marital property during divorce proceedings. By knowing how to discover hidden assets, you can make sure they are accounted for in your settlement.