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How to uncover hidden assets in divorce

When a couple is going through the legal process of divorce, both are required to provide the court with their financial information, such as income, assets, debts and liabilities and all other data. Unfortunately, some spouses refuse or are unable to cooperate with this requirement. Sometimes spouses provide their financial information, but do so dishonestly, hiding assets and lying about their income and worth.

However, there are other sources of financial information that can be very useful in the property division process. While these may not supply the complete financial picture that the court needs and requires, they can provide basic information about a spouse’s finances or evidence that a spouse has lied to the court and that he or she may be hiding assets.

Below are a few alternative sources of financial information that may be helpful during divorce:

  • Financial documents prepared for business or personal matters prior to the split and the underlying documents used in their creation: When these documents are compared to the financial affidavits filed in the divorce, they can highlight any inconsistencies and errors, whether they were made inadvertently or on purpose.
  • Applications for mortgage, auto, personal or commercial loans: Lenders generally require a significant amount of personal information before they will consider or process a loan, so applications usually contain a good amount of data.
  • Bankruptcy documentation: Whether personal or business, the bankruptcy process requires the disclosure of the applicant’s entire financial picture.

The downside of these sources is that you may need a subpoena to gain access to them. If your spouse has provided inaccurate or incomplete financial data to the court, however, the additional step may be worth it.

Source: The Fraud Files, “Alternative Sources of Financial Information in Divorce,” Tracy Coenen, Sept. 6, 2012