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What to do when you suspect your ex is hiding assets from you

Many people say they got divorced because their spouse did not tell the truth. Maybe the spouse had an affair and tried to cover it up, or did not express their true feelings about important matters.

Once the divorce is underway, some spouses try to minimize the amount they must give up in the property of division using dishonest means. They hide money and other assets that are rightfully community property, hoping the other spouse does not find out about it.

Most people assume that they know all about the household’s finances, so it can come as a shock when they learn their ex has a secret bank account or some investments squirreled away. It can take the help of a divorce lawyer to uncover hidden assets to make sure each spouse gets their fair share.

One method lawyers use is to conduct a lifestyle audit. This an investigation conducted by forensic accountants during the discovery period of a divorce proceeding. By examining how much your spouse spends, and comparing it to his or her stated income, the accountants may discover a discrepancy that can only be explained by hidden assets he or she did not want you to know about.

It is not always necessary to actually uncover the hidden money. Just showing that it exists can convince the court to adjust the property settlement in your favor.

Unfortunately, divorcing spouses do not always play fair. When they don’t, it can take some creative investigating to get at the truth.

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