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Eight Places to Look for Hidden Assets

Divorce can get ugly. While some couples divorce peacefully, for others, it becomes a battle. Suspicion and mistrust become part of the game. Many people assume that when a spouse asks for divorce, he or she probably has money “stashed away somewhere.” Some hire private investigators to find it.

Unfortunately, in some cases, it’s true: your spouse may have hidden money. But before paying someone else, consider whether you could find any hidden assets on your own. Here are some ideas of where to start:

Hiding assets. Photo by Rocky Lubbers. [1]

Photo by Rocky Lubbers.

  1. Your joint bank account. Go back through the statements online and look for any unusual withdrawals. If his/her paychecks are directly deposited, it is difficult to move funds without notice.
  2. Brokerage accounts/credit. Check statements for your credit cards or brokerage accounts. Anything missing or odd?
  3. Expense reimbursements. Some people will delay submitting medical or other reimbursement forms to delay receiving the money. Go back through various account records to see if anything is missing.
  4. Other income. Bonuses, a raise. If he/she usually gets them at a particular time each year and did not this year, he may have delayed the money on purpose. Consider what he or she spends each month and what might be missing.
  5. Custodial accounts for children. If the account shows additions and withdrawals, it might be used as a regular account instead of savings for the children. Make sure that money isn’t removed after the divorce.
  6. Missing business money. He/she may be sending out invoices late in order to delay income. He/she might be paying someone as a “client” who turns out to be a girlfriend/boyfriend/relative keeping that money for him/her.
  7. Odd debts. One way spouses squirrel money is by having a friend or relative show up and ask to be repay for a loan. The loan is fake so that he/she can get some extra money to set aside.
  8. Hidden assets are not just in money form. And they may not be hidden. Antiques, art, and equipment could all be sold later. Dig through the basement, attic, and rented storage units along with his/her office. Many spouses find paintings, gems, coins, and other investments purchased with marital funds.

Share: Did your spouse hide money? If so, where and how did you find it?

This information was generously provided by WIFE.org [2], creator of the original Second Saturday.