If you or someone you know is going through a divorce settlement, it can turn very unpleasant pretty quickly. Two people are going their separate ways while trying to divide what they have made over their years together. You want things to go smoothly and honestly, but that isn't always the case.
Whether you are aware of it or not, there are times when one party will hide assets or incomes from the other side. Usually, a spouse will conceal assets from the other so it will not get brought into the case to be divided. Another reason may be to persuade support payments within their favor.
No matter the reason behind it, there are ways to find any suspected hidden assets in divorce cases. Here are five ways you and your attorney can assure all the cards are brought to the table.
Look Through Tax Returns
Your income tax return is the best way to examine all your earnings throughout the year. Not only that, it will tell you where the income came from. So if you are suspecting there is money not being disclosed, start with the tax return.
You will need to have all of your spouse's personal information like their full legal name, current address and any info that is related to them.
Compare Income to Lifestyle
Pay attention to how your spouse acts, especially if you have a hunch of unreported assets. If you notice there have a significant amount of purchases made, more expensive items, travelling, basically anything that is considered a lavish lifestyle, does the income reported support it? If their income and assets reported don't match the lifestyle, there may be a chance something is missing.
Certain life insurance policies have what is called cash value. It is almost like a savings account. Part of the monthly premium goes towards the cash value which is accessible to be pulled out. If you know your spouse has a whole life insurance policy with a cash value, make sure your attorney is aware.
Do a Public Record Check
A public record check is valuable information on individuals that anyone can access at any time. You can confirm the income the report matches what is in the records (or find out if you don't already know). It can also show the transfer of ownership for certain assets.
Make sure you know how to correctly perform a public record check at all levels: local and state levels.
Hold Less Valuable Items
If you have noticed that your spouse no longer has their favorite piece of artwork or is giving away special items, that can be a red flag. If you suspect your spouse is withholding assets, check to see where possible missing belongings have gone to. Make sure they are not being housed somewhere else during the divorce settlement.
Although it makes a divorce case more difficult, unfortunate hiding assets do occur. These are a few ways that you and your attorney can spot the possible withholding of any assets or income during the settlement. Make sure you receive all the correct information to reach a fair agreement.