Not all marriages are based on trust. One spouse may hide assets or money in an attempt to leave the marriage with them. Unfortunately this happens more than it should. A 2015 report from CNBC stated that about 7.2 million Americans have hidden accounts — in a bank or credit card — that are unknown to their spouse or partner.
What to Do if You Suspect Hidden Assets
It’s of course not pleasant to think that that person we trust is hiding important things from us. But if we are facing a separation or divorce it’s important to take action to protect ourselves.
There are ways to identify these assets and ensure that when the marriage or partnership is dissolved all of the financial resources are properly accounted for and divided. To protect yourself and your future FIRST understand what to fight for during a separation or divorce, especially in a “high- asset” situation.
Three Steps to Take
Finding hidden accounts and stashed away funds is not a job for a novice. When cataloging assets theses three steps are the most important to take:
- Determine which property and assets are community and which are personal
- Get appraisals and valuations done, especially when a business is owned
- Expose hidden assets and “freeze” them
Even the most experienced high asset divorce attorneys sometimes hire “forensic accountants" for especially complex financial cases.
Where Assets are Commonly Held or Hidden
Some assets are consciously hidden and others are just rather conveniently not obvious. These include:
- Retirement and pension plans
- Expensive art, collections and decor
- Cars, boats and planes
- Vacation, rental and other properties
Future Earnings to Consider
Another matter to consider is future earnings. For example, a highly skilled surgeon, successful investor or emerging business owner may have millions of dollars of income that needs fiscal consideration in a divorce.
An experienced attorney who work with or understands forensic accounting can ensure that no figurative "rock" is left unturned and that all assets are accounted for and divided accurately.