Why an attorney is needed to detect hidden assets during divorce

An attorney can help divorcees determine if their spouse is hiding assets and how they are hiding them.

In California, divorcing couples usually try to work out an agreement for separating their property that they both feel is fair. However, those getting a divorce should use caution while separating their assets. Research published by the National Endowment for Financial Education revealed that in two out of three marriages, one spouse hides funds from the other.

Not only should couples getting a divorce be wary that their spouse might be hiding assets during the divorce process, but they should also consider working with an attorney during this process for a few key reasons.

Knowledge of what assets are hidden and how they are hidden

In a marriage, many different types of assets can be hidden. Mutual funds, bonds and cash are among the most common. For example, a spouse may try to hide travelers' checks, stocks, variable annuities and bearer municipal bonds from his or her partner. Spouses may often overlook when personal property, such as vehicles, collectibles, jewelry and art, are converted into cash and hidden as well.

Additionally, how assets are hidden can be highly variable. For instance, a spouse may try to place personal possessions in a safety deposit box under the name of a friend or repay false debts to family members or friends through a personal account.

Legal professionals are highly familiar with the techniques used to hide assets and what assets are most commonly hidden during the divorce process. As a result, divorcees will be more likely to discover whether or not their spouse is trying to hide assets if they work with an attorney.

Familiarity with techniques used to uncover hidden assets

Attorneys also know which techniques to use to determine if assets are being hidden and to uncover how this is happening while the divorce process is moving forward. Often, the likelihood of hidden assets can be revealed by asking a series of questions about the spouse's lifestyle. These may include:

  • Does the spouse travel?
  • What activities occur when the spouse travel?
  • Does the spouse deposit his or her paycheck into a separate account?

Once this basic information is acquired, specific information can then be gleaned from reviewing various sources.

Reach out to an attorney

Working with an attorney in California can ultimately help spouses preserve their best financial interests during the divorce process. Those who have yet to contact a legal professional should consider doing so before their divorce starts to move forward.