How to Find Hidden Assets in a Divorce
When a couple divorces in New York, the assets in their marital estate are equitably distributed based on a settlement agreement or a judge’s decision. However, the distribution cannot proceed fairly unless both spouses have a full accounting of the property and debts that must be divided. State law requires parties in a divorce to complete a financial disclosure affidavit and to swear that the information included is accurate and complete. Still, a husband or wife anticipating a divorce might try to hide certain assets from the other spouse so that they are excluded from being allocated in the marriage dissolution order.
If you suspect that your soon-to-be ex is not being honest about their income, investments, liabilities or other aspects of their financial situation, there are several methods for getting at the truth, such as:
- Tax returns — Often, the spouse who earns the majority of household income will take the lead in filing a joint tax return. So even though your name is on the document, you might not have reviewed it carefully. The tax return along with W-2 and 1099 forms should be provided with the financial disclosure affidavit, but it is smart to have a professional examine the return and supporting documents to see if there are any signs of unreported assets or that money is being paid to your spouse under the table.
- Review of business transfers — It might be necessary to conduct a thorough review of any transactions involving business entities during the time period leading up to the divorce. Such transfers could be a means of shielding assets from the equitable distribution process.
- Direct requests to financial institutions — Your husband or wife might insist that they don’t have any secret bank accounts, but if you have an inkling that they’ve got money deposited in a particular financial institution, you can subpoena relevant records from the bank.
- Investigation of friends or relatives — A married person having an affair could shift assets to their girlfriend or boyfriend to shield them from the spouse they’re going to leave. Even if your spouse isn’t seeing anybody, they might have a family member or friend hold funds or other property until the divorce is completed.
Even in cases where there is no suspicion of improper behavior, marital asset division can be a complex and contentious process. The experienced Long Island divorce lawyers at Bryan L. Salamone & Associates, P.C. in Melville have the skill, determination and resources needed to expose hidden assets in pursuit of a fair division of marital property. To make an appointment for a free initial consultation,, call 1.631.479.3839 or contact us online.