When two people divorce, they must fully and honestly disclose their assets and liabilities. This is necessary to ensure the division of property is fair.
Unfortunately, not everyone takes this responsibility of full disclosure seriously. In fact, some people intentionally try to skirt the rules by hiding or undervaluing assets. If you have concerns that your soon-to-be ex might be trying to shield property from division during your divorce, there are a few tips you might consider.
Start looking now
Even if neither of you has filed for divorce yet, familiarize yourself with your family finances. Start reviewing your bank statements; keep an eye on credit card bills that come in the mail; collect recent tax returns. You should also take special note of physical property, like jewellery, electronics and artwork. Take pictures to document ownership and condition.
Gathering this information now can give you a better (and possibly more accurate) picture of your marital finances.
Consult the professionals
As this article notes, deciphering financial data and history can be very difficult, especially if you do not have a strong accounting background.
Thankfully, you do not have to rely on your own investigative and financial skills to examine things like transaction histories and business valuations. You can consult professionals like a forensic accountant and a lawyer who can help you untangle this complex information.
Trust your gut, but use your head
You might have a feeling that your partner is concealing assets or otherwise trying to keep property from division in a divorce. That instinct can be a powerful sign that something is amiss.
However, you need more than that feeling to support claims of hidden assets. You should have evidence like missing property or witness statements to back up your claims. This can be difficult to gather, but again, professional support and legal counsel can make it easier.
Understand that hiding or attempting to hide assets during a divorce is unwise. It is illegal and it can result in costly consequences for the person attempting to hide them. Instead, parties should focus on being open and honest and pursuing legitimate routes to seeking a desirable outcome.