Sometimes during a divorce, one spouse attempts to hide marital assets from the other spouse. This happens most frequently in high-asset divorces.
What can you do if you suspect that your wife or husband has stashed valuable resources and assets from the marriage out of reach of the court? One suggestion is to hire a forensic accountant to pore over the accounts and financial records, including past tax returns.
However, there are some actions that the suspicious spouse may take that could help recover a gold mine of hidden marital funds.
Fully utilize the discovery process
Your attorney will issue interrogatories and requests for production of documents to the counsel of record for your spouse. This means that your soon-to-be ex-spouse will have to answer under oath and penalty of perjury. If they lie, the court can impose strict penalties.
Follow the paper trails
People hide assets in any number of ways, including arranging for sham transactions between friends and relatives. These individuals may or may not be complicit in their actions to help a spouse hide valuable marital assets.
Review the income tax returns carefully
Tax returns can be a veritable treasure trove of information in the pursuit of hidden assets. Think of it as the blueprint for determining the identity of earned income and the sale of jointly owned marital assets.
A federal tax return also categorizes sources of income streams, i.e., rental income, losses and gains from the sales of stock, dividends, etc. Be aware, too, that a spouse can overpay both federal and state taxes and receive a credit in the form of a future tax refund after the divorce is finalized.
Comb through business records
If you and your spouse are small business owners but your spouse is more involved in the day-to-day operations than you are, it can be simple to hide money in plain sight disguised as legitimate business expenses. This could be done by making fake payments to others who agree to the scam or by sinking a lot of capital into buying business assets that will later be sold off.
Your Tennessee family law attorney should be adept at revealing the existence of hidden marital assets that tend to “disappear” conveniently after a couple files for divorce.