Divorces can be emotionally draining and financially challenging, especially when it comes to the division of assets. Many couples aren’t even aware of all the asset classes they own or how much their spouse has hidden away. During a contested divorce, spouses may have to hunt down these hidden assets in order to get a fair settlement.
The first step in uncovering any assets is to obtain copies of financial documents, including bank statements and tax returns. These will provide an overview of the couple’s finances during their marriage. If one spouse notices any suspicious activity but does not provide the other with documents confirming it, a subpoena may be necessary. A financial investigator can then analyze these documents to look for patterns such as large cash transfers or large deposits into unknown accounts that were made without the other partner’s knowledge.
Another way to search for hidden assets is through interviews with people who know the partners personally. This includes family members, friends, business associates and colleagues who might have information about properties or investments that are unaccounted for on paper. With this knowledge, investigators can contact banks and investment firms to access records of accounts belonging to either partner and find out if there are any undisclosed assets that should be taken into account during property division.
In addition to searching for tangible assets, one must also consider intangible property such as trust funds, stocks, bonds and annuities acquired during marriage and owned by either partner separately from each other. These types of investments often fall under a category called non-marital funds which means only one spouse is liable for them after divorce proceedings are finalized. Even so, understanding the size and scope of these holdings is important in determining how much each partner should receive from asset division following an easy divorce.
Finally, professional services such as forensic accounting may be necessary in uncovering any remaining hidden assets during contested divorces. Forensic accountants specialize in tracking down suspicious money trails that could point towards potential fraud or abuse by one partner against the other financially. Utilizing sophisticated software that can detect discrepancies between income reported on taxes versus actual spending power gives forensic accountants an advantage when hunting down unaccounted-for money or valuable items held by one partner over another before divorce proceedings have begun.