If divorce is on your agenda and you suspect your spouse is hiding assets, an investigation is in order. Today, anyone interested in finding out what a soon-to-be ex is up to can use both traditional and electronic methods to look for evidence of financial infidelity.
Clues to financial misdeeds are available in many places, and you can begin the search right now.
Becoming a credit card sleuth
Keep your eyes open for anything unusual in the way of credit card statements that come to your home. Are any addressed only to your spouse? Is this something new? Also, look through your joint statements for any large payment your spouse may have made to the credit card company instead of the usual monthly payment. This would make a nice cushion for future expenditures he or she might be planning to make.
Watching bank account activity
Your spouse may open a bank account in the name of your child and hide funds there. Look for any ATM receipts your spouse may have kept and check the last four digits of the bank account number. Do you recognize this account number? Another trick he or she might use is to transfer funds into the account of a relative or friend to hold there until your divorce is final, after which they will return the funds.
Checking computer information
Checking a browser history on the computer is an easy way to discover a new bank name — a bank you do not use — or the name of a brokerage house or real estate agency. Consider looking into PayPal. Does your spouse have an account you knew nothing about? Searching public records online may also turn up information about your spouse, including any aliases or secret profiles that may exist.
Turning to your team
Hidden assets are a contentious issue in many marriages. To help locate them, especially if you are facing a high-asset divorce, you will want a team that includes your attorney and pertinent experts, such as a forensic accountant or a real estate professional. Your financial well-being is at stake in a divorce, and an experienced team will help level the playing field between you and your asset-hiding spouse.