Tracking down your share of marital assets

To many, it seems as if divorce is all about the money. If you are in the middle of dividing the house, the cars, the retirement accounts and the investments, you probably agree. While reducing your marriage to the value of your assets may seem cold, you also know that the results of your settlement may determine your financial health for years into the future. This is why you may be concerned that your spouse is hiding assets from you.

Statistics show that 90 percent of family law attorneys have clients who suspect financial infidelity. The more money your spouse makes, the more easily he or she will be able to hide it from you. You may also have unwittingly paved the way for such dishonesty if you took a hands-off approach to the family finances during your marriage. Nevertheless, you are entitled to your fair share of marital assets, and there are ways in which you can track them down.

Where did the money go?

First, it is helpful to know some of the common places where a spouse may attempt to direct funds away from any joint accounts. To prevent you from having access to a secret stash, your spouse may divert money to any of the following:

  • Offshore accounts
  • Friends or family
  • Safe deposit boxes
  • Stock brokerage accounts
  • Investment accounts
  • Real estate

The money could come directly from his or her income, or it may come from side businesses that you may not know about.

Digital sleuthing

Finding the money could be tricky, especially since not all available efforts to track it down may be legal in California. However, there are steps you can take to confirm your suspicions that your spouse is hiding assets from you. In this age of technology, it is not always easy to keep one's ventures entirely secret. Some investigation into your spouse's digital world may get you started on the path of discovery. You could seek information by using the following:

  • Text messages
  • Social media
  • Emails
  • Tax returns
  • Company benefits websites
  • Brower history
  • Phone tracking
  • GPS

Even if clues in these areas do not lead you directly to the hidden assets, uncovering the information may give you enough leverage to make your spouse come clean.

If you suspect your spouse of diverting assets to avoid dividing them with you during your divorce settlement, you may benefit from an attorney who has experience in complex divorces. The right attorney will have forensic accountants and investigative resources to help you expose any assets your spouse may be trying to conceal.

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