Posted on June 17, 2024 in Divorce

If you are planning to get a divorce, you will need to address various financial concerns as you determine how to divide your marital property. These issues can become more complicated if you are concerned that your spouse is attempting to hide assets. Uncovering these hidden assets is crucial to ensure a fair settlement, but determining the best ways to do so is not always easy. An experienced divorce attorney can help you gather the necessary financial information and take steps to protect your interests as you work to dissolve your marriage.

Signs Your Spouse May Be Hiding Assets

Before delving into specific methods for uncovering hidden assets, it is important to recognize the signs that your spouse may be concealing money or property. These include the following.

  • Sudden decreases in bank account balances
  • Unexplained transfers or withdrawals
  • Underreporting income or overreporting expenses
  • Unusual or secretive behavior regarding financial matters

If you notice any of these red flags, it is essential to take proactive steps to uncover the truth and ensure that marital property can be divided fairly.

Methods to Uncover Hidden Assets

Your attorney can advise you on where to look for assets that may have been concealed. Steps you can take include the following.

  • Review financial accounts: You can gather statements for bank accounts, investment accounts, retirement accounts, and more to look for any discrepancies or unexplained transfers or withdrawals that could indicate that your spouse has attempted to conceal marital funds.
  • Investigate suspicious transactions: Pay close attention to activities such as large withdrawals, transfers to unknown accounts, or purchases of expensive items you were unaware of. If your spouse claims that they are paying debts that you did not know about, this may be an attempt to have someone else hold money or property for them until after your divorce has been finalized.
  • Hire a forensic accountant: These financial professionals review financial information and uncover discrepancies. They analyze financial records, identify irregularities, and trace hidden funds. The help of a forensic accountant may provide you with the evidence needed to ensure a fair division of assets.
  • Search for physical hiding places: Do not overlook the possibility that your spouse may be hiding assets in your home. This could include cash, valuable items, or important documents. Common hiding places include safes, hidden compartments, or even seemingly innocuous locations like books or furniture. You may also check to see if items have been hidden in an undisclosed safe deposit box.
  • Uncover cryptocurrency transactions: Virtual currencies like Bitcoin have become an increasingly popular way to conceal assets due to the anonymity of digital transactions. If you suspect your spouse is using cryptocurrency to hide funds, you may need to look for transactions involving digital wallets or accounts on cryptocurrency exchanges. A forensic accountant with experience in digital assets can be particularly helpful in this area.
  • Double-check tax returns: Tax returns can provide important information about your spouse’s financial activities. Review past tax returns for inconsistencies or hidden income. Look for items like undisclosed properties, investments, or business interests that could indicate hidden assets.
  • Investigate business interests: If your spouse owns a business, it is crucial to thoroughly investigate its finances. Some spouses may use business accounts to hide personal assets, or they may pay wages to a nonexistent employee while funneling these funds into a secret account. A forensic accountant can closely review the business’s financial statements, tax returns, and bank accounts to look for suspicious activity.
  • Use legal tools: An experienced divorce attorney can use various legal tools to uncover hidden assets. These may include subpoenas, depositions, and discovery requests to compel your spouse to provide financial information. Your attorney can also work with financial experts to trace and identify concealed assets.

Contact Our Milwaukee Divorce Lawyers for Hidden Assets

Uncovering hidden assets during your divorce can be a complex and challenging task. At Gimbel, Reilly, Guerin & Brown, LLP, our Milwaukee, WI divorce attorneys can help you act quickly to preserve your marital assets and protect your financial interests. We will work closely with you to ensure that property division and other financial concerns will be handled correctly during your divorce. Contact us at 414-271-1440 to set up a free consultation and learn how we can help you complete the divorce process successfully.