Locating an ex-spouse's hidden assets - Zukerman Law

How to Find Hidden Assets in a Divorce?

Divorce is a complex and emotionally charged process. Dividing marital assets fairly is a crucial aspect of reaching a final settlement. Unfortunately, some spouses attempt to hide assets, making a just division even more challenging.  

If you suspect your ex-spouse may be concealing financial holdings, you’re not alone. This article will guide you through the process of uncovering hidden assets in a divorce, empowering you to secure a fair outcome.

Why and How do Spouses Hide Assets?

Why and How do Spouses Hide Assets?

During separation or divorce, individuals may choose to hide assets from their spouse for various reasons, including concerns about the law dividing their assets unfavorably and worries about having to give up or pay more than they anticipated, having assets from illegal activities, hiding certain conduct or behavior from the other spouse, or reducing or avoiding paying spousal or child support.

It is relatively simple for someone to misrepresent how many assets they have or hide assets. The individual may frequently ask a trusted friend or relative for assistance, or they will just open a bank account secretly.

  • A spouse may also hide or reduce assets in other ways, like:
  • Lending money to friends or relatives
  • Making up fake expenses
  • Moving money to a different account
  • Keeping some aspects of their business assets hidden
  • Making large purchases
  • Taking money out of accounts, like RRSPs, without permission
  • Giving a new partner half ownership of a house
  • Transferring interest in a company to other corporate partners
Signs Your Ex-spouse May Be Hiding Assets

Signs Your Ex-spouse May Be Hiding Assets

There are many signs, or red flags, that may indicate an individual is hiding assets. These include if a spouse:

  • suddenly changes their financial behavior (This includes unexplained cash withdrawals, transfers of money to unknown accounts, or a sudden and dramatic increase or decrease in spending.)
  • becomes secretive about their finances
  • wants complete control of bank account information and online passwords
  • is living a lifestyle that seems out of line with their reported income
  • is giving away money or assets to friends or family
  • complains about a decrease in income
  • makes expensive purchases, such as a car or art
  • delays employment bonuses or raises
  • opens new bank accounts or investment accounts
  • opens multiple business or personal bank accounts or transfers assets from a joint account into an individual account
  • destroys or hides financial records
  • opens custodial bank accounts in children’s names
  • gives large gifts of money or assets to family or friends

Note: If you suspect that your ex-spouse is hiding assets, it is important to talk to a divorce lawyer. Zukerman Law Group can help you track down hidden assets and ensure that you get a fair share of the marital estate.

Strategies for Locating Hidden Assets

Strategies for Locating Hidden Assets

In divorce proceedings, spouses often hide valuable assets to prevent equitable distribution. To find, uncover, and locate hidden assets, it is crucial to seek help from a lawyer. This will help uncover answers about your ex-spouse’s financial position and determine if litigation is worth the time. To help you get started, read on to learn about the key steps to successfully find hidden assets in a divorce.

1- Documents to Request from Your Spouse

There are several documents that can be helpful in identifying financial accounts and property, especially during legal or financial proceedings. Below are some documents you can request from your spouse that may provide evidence of hidden assets:

Income Tax Returns

Tax returns provide a detailed record of income and can reveal inconsistencies that might point to undisclosed assets.

Bank Account Statements

Bank statements offer a comprehensive view of deposits, withdrawals, and account activity, potentially revealing hidden accounts or suspicious transactions.

Loan Applications

Applications for loans often require detailed financial disclosures, which can be a valuable resource for identifying assets and income streams.

Credit Card Statements

Credit card statements provide insight into spending habits and might uncover unknown accounts or purchases linked to hidden assets.

Business Records

For individuals involved in businesses, a review of business records by a qualified professional may be necessary to ensure a complete picture of their financial situation.

Public Records

Public record searches can reveal property ownership (real estate, vehicles, etc.) that may not have been previously disclosed.

2- Examine Your Spouse Lifestyle

Gathering more information about their lifestyle can help identify potential hidden assets. People can hide money from their spouse in various ways, such as having an account with a different name or Social Security number, hiding funds in someone else’s name, or even under a minor child. If you suspect hidden assets, consult an attorney to gather evidence and build a strong case against your spouse.

3- Hire a Forensic Accountant

A forensic accountant is a neutral third party who can help discover hidden assets, often used by lawyers in divorce cases or individuals trying to prove their spouse’s hidden assets. They review financial records to identify inconsistencies, such as bogus expenses or fraud and may be hired to help avoid paying alimony or child support.

4- Find a Professional Investigator

To make the process easier, find a full financial asset search investigator. There are a number of important methods, approaches, and factors to take into account while selecting the best investigations company. 

Find a qualified specialist in your neighborhood as a starting point. After you have a list of names, you may start your internet research. The top investigative research services will have a professional website with up-to-date news and more details about their services. Undoubtedly, enlisting expert assistance is essential for discovering hidden assets after a divorce.

How Can a Private Investigator Locate a Spouse’s Hidden Assets?

How Can a Private Investigator Locate a Spouse’s Hidden Assets?

Private investigators use various surveillance techniques to uncover the hidden assets of a spouse. These techniques include video surveillance, audio surveillance, photographs, personal observations, public databases, internet searches, Personal Property Security Registration (PPSR) searches, land registry databases, and corporate searches. Investigators look for information about tax returns, employment, investments, property tax payments, casualty or theft loss claims, canceled cheques, bank accounts, credit card receipts, offshore accounts, and possibly text messages, emails, web history, and social media. 

This information helps investigators gain a broader understanding of the person’s financial state.

Conclusion

Dividing assets fairly in a divorce hinges on a complete financial picture. Unfortunately, sometimes that picture requires a little investigative work. By implementing the strategies outlined above, you can approach the financial side of your divorce with a sense of empowerment and knowledge.

Remember, you don’t have to navigate this alone. The Zukerman Law Group brings decades of experience to the table, specializing in complex asset division during divorce. Our professional legal team can guide you through the financial discovery process, ensuring your rights are protected and all assets are properly accounted for. Contact Zukerman Law Group today and schedule a consultation.

FAQs

  • 1- How to find husbands’ hidden accounts?1

    Hidden bank accounts can be discovered through various methods, including online asset searches, hiring private investigators, making legal requests for financial information, and utilizing state-sponsored websites and resources.

  • 2- How do you find out if your spouse is hiding money from you?1

    The following documents may help you find hidden assets:

    • Income tax returns
    • Bank account statements
    • Loan applications
    • Credit card statements
    • Business records
    • Public records
  • 3- What is money infidelity?1

    Financial infidelity is a common but serious issue in relationships, where one partner conceals or misrepresents financial information from the other, such as keeping secret bank accounts or concealing purchases.

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author

Stuart Zukerman

Stuart Zukerman, a graduate of the University of British Columbia, has over 32 years of experience in litigation with a focus on Family Law, Personal Injury, Wrongful Dismissal claims, and Collaborative Divorce & Mediation. He has extensive trial experience in divorce, child custody, spousal support, asset division, and ICBC injury claims. As an accredited Family Law Mediator, he helps resolve disputes without court intervention. Stuart has also authored papers on family law and lectured at CLE courses.