One of the most important steps during the divorce process is the creation of an inventory of marital assets and property. Spouses need to share financial records with one another and provide information to their ex and the courts about what assets they hold.
Listing the assets and putting an estimated value on them is incredibly important to the fairness of the eventual property division outcome. Some spouses will try to leave a marriage with more than their fair share of assets by hiding property from the courts and their spouses. Knowing some of the places people hide assets can help you determine if your spouse has something to hide.
In a secret bank account
Perhaps one of the sneakiest ways for spouses to set themselves up for a pending divorce is by diverting income from marital bank accounts and slowly starting to fund their own checking account.
Some people engage in this practice through the entirety of the marriage, leading to a hidden nest egg that could have a value of tens of thousands of dollars. If there is income unaccounted for that your spouse never disclosed, that could be a warning sign that they have a hidden financial account.
In a storage unit or safety deposit box
You could find assets ranging from real estate deeds to fine jewelry or antique furniture physically hidden by your spouse. Noticing a charge from a bank that you don’t use or from a rental, moving or storage company could be a sign that your spouse has a hidden stash of property or money that they never shared with you.
If they earned the income that purchase those assets during the marriage, you have a claim to that property. Discovering a hidden storage facility fee is a reason to look over your financial records with greater scrutiny.
In property they know you don’t want to keep
Maybe your spouse collects Cubist paintings or classic baseball cards. Those individual assets have no meaning or personal value to you, so you just expect that your spouse will keep them when you divorce.
Overlooking the financial value held in vehicles, designer clothing and jewelry might deprive you of your share of thousands of dollars worth of marital assets. Even if you have no desire to keep the actual physical assets, figuring out what they are worth and asking for your share of that will lead to a fairer outcome when you divide your property.
Discovering warning signs of hidden assets might lead to a more complex divorce or even the involvement of other professionals, like a forensic accountant.