Georgia divorce: Uncovering assets hidden by one spouse from the other

On behalf of Samuel Siemon

When divorcing, some people may hide assets from their spouses. There are steps that people can take, however, to discover those hidden assets.

When couples in Alpharetta, and throughout Georgia, divorce, one of the issues that must be settled is the division of their property and assets. For many, this can be the most contentious aspect of the divorce process. In an effort to keep what they think is theirs, or that they deserve, some spouses may hide assets. There are steps that people can take, however, to discover these hidden assets. This can help ensure that the court has all of the information when making a ruling on property division.

Financial accounts

One of the first places that people should look to uncover assets that have been hidden is their financial account statements, the Huffington Post reports. This may include examining bank account and credit card statements, as well as wire transfers and cancelled checks. In some cases, working with a forensic accountant may aid in this process.

Through these reviews, people may discover transfers to undisclosed accounts. Additionally, they may find evidence showing the purchase of significant assets, such as antiques, artwork or jewelry. They may also show payments for undisclosed assets. For example, this could include property taxes for a home or other piece of property that one spouse was unaware of.

Household expenses

Reviewing the family’s household expenses can also provide evidence of hidden assets in a divorce. It is important to examine the household income, as well as the household expenses. In some cases, the expenses may exceed the income. If no other disclosed accounts have been used to cover the difference, it could prove that there is some type of undisclosed income.

Employment documentation

Examining employment documentation can prove valuable when searching for assets that have been hidden. This may include reviewing pay stubs and information regarding benefits, such as retirement plans, stock options and deferred compensation plans. Pay stubs may show earnings being deposited into financial accounts that were not disclosed. For the purposes of property division in a divorce, some benefits may be considered a marital asset, which means they must be revealed to the court.

Tax returns

When looking for hidden assets, tax returns can be a useful tool, according to Financial Advisor. In general, bank accounts that incur interest and brokerage accounts that earn dividends must be reported on people’s taxes. Reviewing 1099s and tax returns can help ensure that these accounts have been disclosed to the court. These documents may also provide evidence of real estate holdings, or other assets or accounts, that one spouse did not know existed.

Public records

Generally, there are public records for the purchase and sale of real estate properties. With this in mind, it is recommended that people conduct public records searches under their spouses’ names. This may show whether they own any properties that were not disclosed to their spouses and the court.

Working with an attorney

When spouses hide assets before or during a divorce, it can impact the property division process. As such, spouses may not be awarded the assets that they are entitled to receive. Therefore, it may benefit those who are considering a divorce, or who have already filled, to seek legal counsel and representation. An attorney may help them to discover assets that have been hidden, and ensure that their interests are upheld through the divorce process.

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