8 Places to Look for Hidden Assets in Divorce (2024)

Why Hiding Assets Is Taken So Seriously

Asset disclosure is a crucial aspect of divorce cases, demanding honesty and transparency when it comes to revealing one's financial resources and holdings to the court. In these legal disputes, concealing or misrepresenting assets can have severe consequences.

Courts take a strong stance against hidden assets, cracking down on individuals who attempt to conceal wealth or manipulate financial information. Concealing assets in a divorce case can lead to substantial penalties, including fines and loss of credibility in court. In some cases, individuals may even face jail time for contempt of court.

How to Find Hidden Assets in a Divorce

Divorce can be a challenging and emotionally taxing experience. Not only are couples faced with the difficult task of untangling their lives, but they often have to navigate the complex world of asset division.

In many cases, one spouse may attempt to conceal assets in order to gain an unfair advantage in the divorce settlement. As a result, conducting a thorough asset search becomes essential to ensure fairness and equity in the process. In this article, we will explore practical and actionable methods for tracking down hidden assets during a divorce.

Here are common locations to look for hidden assets:

  1. With friends and family. One common tactic used to hide assets is transferring them to friends or family members temporarily. These individuals may hold the assets until after the divorce is finalized, at which point they are returned to the spouse who concealed them. It is important to scrutinize transactions involving close associates during the asset search.
  2. Tax returns. Tax returns can provide valuable insights into a spouse's financial situation. However, some individuals may underreport income or overstate deductions to hide assets. Reviewing tax returns, especially those from previous years, can help identify discrepancies and uncover hidden assets.
  3. Bank accounts. Concealing assets in offshore or undisclosed bank accounts is another strategy employed by some individuals during divorce proceedings. It is advisable to thoroughly examine all bank statements, including joint and personal accounts, to detect any irregularities or transfers to unfamiliar accounts.
  4. Business records. If one or both spouses own a business, it is essential to scrutinize the company's financial records. Business owners may manipulate records, inflate expenses, or underreport profits to conceal assets. Analyzing cash flow, accounts receivable, and inventory can help uncover any hidden assets.
  5. Tax assessor's office. Property ownership is a common avenue for hiding assets. Conducting a search at the tax assessor's office can reveal any additional properties owned by either spouse. Uncovering undisclosed real estate can significantly impact the division of assets.
  6. New accounts or property. Divorcing individuals may open new accounts or purchase property under a different name to hide assets. It is crucial to investigate recent financial activity and property acquisitions to ensure nothing has been concealed.
  7. Their family business. In cases where a family business is involved, it is important to analyze its financial records thoroughly. Owners can manipulate business income and expenses, overpay themselves, or defer revenue to hide assets. Engaging a forensic accountant can be invaluable in assessing the true value of the business and identifying any hidden assets.
  8. Crypto accounts. With the rise of cryptocurrencies, some spouses may attempt to hide assets within these digital currencies. Tracking transactions and investments in cryptocurrencies can be complex, but it is essential to ensure a thorough asset search.

Worried Your Spouse Hid Assets? Talk with Our Divorce Attorney

At the Law Office of Jody L. Fisher, we are committed to offering our clients personalized counsel. If you are involved in a divorce and believe your spouse has concealed assets or wealth, our attorney can talk you through your options—from retaining a forensic accountant to obtaining financial documents in the discovery process and more.

Schedule an initial consultation with our team by calling (352) 503-4111.

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8 Places to Look for Hidden Assets in Divorce (2024)


How to find spouse hidden assets? ›

How to Find Hidden Assets in a Divorce
  1. With friends and family. One common tactic used to hide assets is transferring them to friends or family members temporarily. ...
  2. Tax returns. ...
  3. Bank accounts. ...
  4. Business records. ...
  5. Tax assessor's office. ...
  6. New accounts or property. ...
  7. Their family business. ...
  8. Crypto accounts.
Dec 5, 2023

How to prove ex is hiding assets? ›

One of the best places to get proof of hidden marital assets is the courthouse. If your spouse ever borrowed money for a mortgage company or from the bank, the records will be filed there. The loan application will also contain a list of assets they own as an estimation of their value.

How to find out what assets someone owns? ›

Identifying Assets via Public Records

Sources include: County Recorder (real estate records), Secretary of State (corporation and UCC filings), Business Licenses, Health Permits, CSLB Licenses, CDSS, BSIS, DMV, ABC, Courts.

Can I find out if my wife has a secret bank account? ›

The best way to find out if someone has multiple bank accounts is to ask them directly. If this isn't possible, then you can contact a private investigator or get a court order from a judge.

Can I empty my bank account before divorce? ›

That means you cannot empty your joint account unless your spouse consents or you get a court order first. If you are considering divorce, it's important to prepare financially. Our attorneys can advise you regarding what information you need to gather and how to address your fears of having no funds.

How do I prove my ex is lying about income? ›

These may include subpoenas for your ex's pay stubs, bank statements, credit card statements, or tax returns. Your attorney may also submit a request for sworn testimony from your ex about his or her financial assets. If your ex refuses to honor these requests, he or she will likely face contempt of court.

How are assets discovered in divorce? ›

Formal discovery: This can include written questions (called interrogatories), oral depositions, and requests for inspections. Informal discovery: In this process, one spouse can simply ask the other for information regarding specific assets.

What is an asset check? ›

As used in the context of litigation, an asset check is a private investigation of an individual's ability to pay damages. An asset check is necessary only in cases where a defendant does not have sufficient insurance limits for the covered loss, or where the incident that caused the loss is not covered.

What is an asset locator? ›

Investigators (sometimes referred to as Asset Locators or Heir Finders) are individuals or companies that offer to file claims for unclaimed property for the apparent owner or their heirs for a fee.

How much does an asset search cost? ›

Cost: $170 to $400 most of the time but prices vary as it depends on the amount of assets found and the ease to verify them. A typical add on for this report is an Employment Search and a Phone Search. Time Frames: Most routine Asset searches take 1 to 2 weeks.

What to do when your spouse is hiding something? ›

So, what can you do if you suspect your spouse is hiding something? If you can, talk to your spouse at a time where they feel safe. Often, a spouse hides something because they don't feel like they have a safe place to share.

What percent of individuals admit hiding money from their spouse? ›

It's called "financial infidelity," and 42% of people admit to it. "Keeping secrets from our loved ones, whether we're in a marriage or a partner that we live with," elaborated Roger Reynolds, CEO of Reynolds Financial Group.

Can you legally spy on your spouse? ›

Even though you agreed to share your lives together, spying on your spouse is still illegal. Your partner has a reasonable expectation of privacy in certain areas of his or her life, including his or her password-protected accounts.

Can my husband find my bank account? ›

Only the account holder can authorize transactions to and from that account. For a spouse to access their partner's bank account, there must be a specific and legally recognized reason for doing so, like when they have been granted power of attorney or they are the main beneficiary of that account.

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