Divorcing spouses may be able to uncover hidden assets by reviewing financial and legal records, social media and other publicly available information.
Spouses are ideally supposed to share much of their property with one another, but in reality, it’s not uncommon for married or divorcing people in Texas to hide assets. According to The Huffington Post, one study shows that two-thirds of marriages involve some form of hidden assets. It’s not unreasonable to expect that a similar number of divorces do as well. Given these figures, it’s essential for people in San Antonio to understand what steps to take to uncover hidden assets during divorce.
Review Relevant Documentation
During a divorce, both spouses are required to complete financial affidavits and disclose all of their income and assets. However, it’s advisable for each spouse to look over additional documentation to confirm the information that the other spouse provided. Spouses frequently can benefit from doing the following:
- Conduct a public records search to determine whether the other spouse owns any undisclosed real estate.
- Review the other spouse’s tax returns and 1099 forms to discover any unreported income or accounts.
- Look for suspicious purchases or transfers made from any shared bank or brokerage accounts.
- Confirm that only known accounts are being used to pay household bills.
- Compare monthly expenses to reported income to make sure that no additional income is being used to address household expenses.
It’s often advisable for each spouse to work with a qualified professional, such as a forensic accountant or divorce attorney, to ensure that a thorough assessment is completed.
Look For Other Clues
The Huffington Post notes that less conventional sources can also provide evidence of hidden assets. For instance, some spouses may share information on social media that suggests they have concealed property. According to Forbes, posts about new purchases, vacations or promotions may provide direct proof that a spouse is concealing assets. Posts from other people, such as the spouse’s friends, may also reveal that a person is transferring assets or downplaying his or her financial standing.
Avoid Outright Spying
Many divorcing people may be tempted to use technology to uncover any information that their spouses might be hiding, but this can backfire. Tracking a spouse’s location, eavesdropping on private conversations or intercepting electronic communications may constitute legal violations. Any evidence obtained in this manner will likely not affect the final division of property, since it may not be admissible in court.
Although spying can be risky, spouses should not be afraid to make use of readily available information. For example, viewing the other spouse’s web browsing history on a shared computer may yield valuable information that can be considered in court.
Seek Legal Representation
In some cases, spouses may need to take additional steps to secure necessary information, such as subpoenaing records of retirement assets. An attorney can offer assistance with these processes. A legal representative can also ensure that a spouse doesn’t overlook any other steps necessary to prepare for the divorce process.
The oversight of marital assets can have huge impacts during a divorce in Texas, since both spouses have a claim to most property obtained during the marriage. Therefore, spouses should strongly consider seeking legal assistance to improve their likelihood of accounting for all assets and receiving an appropriate settlement.