Divorces are no doubt pretty messy. Aside from all the emotional pain spouses have to deal with, there is also the issue of division of assets. Sometimes, some spouses may try hiding assets from their partners to avoid sharing them. According to Family Law serving all of Arizona, both spouses are expected to disclose ALL their assets during a divorce, especially if they are gotten during the marriage.
So, how do you tell if your spouse is hiding assets? Well, here’s how.
The most common way for spouses to conceal their property is by giving extravagant gifts. Most often, these gifts aren’t meant for their spouse but for someone else who may have to return them after divorce. Gifts of this nature usually allow people to remove assets from the identification process.
Without proper identification, splitting these assets equitable during divorce isn’t possible. Therefore, ensure you check for extravagant or unusual gifting behavior such as jewelry, artwork, or furniture.
If you own a business, you must ensure that your spouse isn’t using the business to hide assets. Some warning signs you can watch out for include unexplainable reports of the business failing. There can also be a steep increase in your operation costs.
If your spouse is using your business to hide assets or finances, they could be reporting expenses and losses that aren’t accurate.
Another common sign that your spouse may be trying to hide assets is expensive spending. If your spouse has a habit of mismatching their income and actual spending habits, you may need to investigate further. For instance, if your spouse has been making purchases of goods beyond their assets or income, this indicates you need to investigate.
Also, if your spouse suddenly has a large appearance of luxury goods like new cars, expensive clothing, or jewelry, should be a warning. The money they are using may be from a hidden source.
Hiding assets is much easier if the physical evidence is also under control. So, if your spouse starts using another private mailbox or post office unexpectedly, this could indicate they are hiding important paperwork. However, it’s important to note that there could also be no guarantee that your spouse is hiding any assets.
After all, going through a divorce might require one of you to change their address. But, it can be a red flag, especially if your spouse is hiding assets.
So, what evidence would you require to find out if your spouse is hiding any finances or assets? The type of evidence you need should be in the form of the following documents:
Income Tax Returns: Not many people lie to IRS about their income. Your spouse’s income tax returns will give you a clear picture of whether they are hiding any assets or finances. Obtain copies of income tax returns of recent years and compare them. It may help you locate any assets or finances you never knew about.
Credit Card Statements: Your spouse’s credit card statements can help show how they spend their money. These statements include every purchase your spouse has made over the past few months. Therefore, it may just contain the proof you need to determine if they are hiding any assets. For instance, an overpayment in a particular account might be an indication that there is a specific asset that should be disclosed.
Loan Applications: if you know your spouse applied for a mortgage or business loan without your knowledge, there is a high likelihood that they have an asset they haven’t disclosed. Therefore, you may want to check their loan application and the supporting documents. This will help you uncover the hidden assets if any.
Public Records: People often take for granted just how valuable public records are when determining assets. If all the other documents didn’t yield any results, searching public records can help discover hidden assets. You can find items like recreational vehicles or real estate your spouse may have purchased without your knowledge.
Business Records: If you and your spouse co-own a business, you may want to check the business records. Your spouse may be hiding income or assets using your business. They may also be paying loans secretly through the business.
While the above procedure can help you achieve the outcome you desire, it can also sometimes not yield any results. Hiring a divorce attorney for this process can make a huge difference, as they know which expert to call to check if your spouse is hiding any assets.