When seeking divorce advice in Pasadena, one of the most common questions people have is how to tell if a spouse is hiding assets. While there's not an easy way to say with 100% accuracy that your spouse is hiding assets in the hopes of getting a more favorable divorce settlement, there are several definite red flags that you should be aware of.
If you have reason to believe your spouse is hiding assets, the first thing you should do is obtain copies of past tax returns from the IRS. Even people who are willing to lie in a divorce settlement are reluctant to fib to the IRS. Look at at least five years of records with the goal of spotting any inconsistencies.
Obtaining copies of monthly bank statements for all accounts is also a good idea. Large deposits and/or withdrawals are a red flag. Go back several months, since your spouse may have been planning the divorce for quite some time before filing the official papers.
As part of your investigation, you should request credit reports from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. (It's smart to get reports from all three bureaus because they sometimes have slightly different information.) Lines of credit or mortgage that appear on your spouse's credit report but not yours are a red flag.
Other warning signs that your spouse may be trying to hide assets include sudden repayment of a debt to a friend, a high salary paid to a brand new business employee, or a sudden infusion of cash into an account in your child's name. All of these strategies can be used to temporarily stash away money because they look legitimate on the surface.
If you suspect your spouse is trying to hide assets, discuss your concerns with your Pasadena divorce lawyer. Depending on what evidence you have, your lawyer may recommend hiring a forensic accountant. Although this service will add to the overall cost of your divorce, making sure you get a settlement that is truly fair is generally worth the added expense.