There are few life events as stressful as divorce. Unfortunately, the likelihood that your marriage will end in divorce is pretty high in this country, and millions of Americans experience divorce each year. According to an article published on fatherly.com, the group known as Baby Boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964) have been largely responsible for high divorce rates in the past because these folks tended to get married very young and would often see their marriage or marriages ending in divorce. The good news is that the divorce rate, according to many reports, has been decreasing in recent years.
The bad news is that divorce is typically stressful and unpleasant, and when you add in the likelihood that the divorce is going to be contested, the stress is much greater. Everyone hopes for an amicable divorce with no fighting over the kids, the house, or the money, but in reality, most divorces are contentious.
The two biggest things that two divorcing people fight over are the children and the money. If you feel your former partner is or has been hiding assets from you during the course of your marriage and divorce, you will need a tough divorce lawyer on your side to expose your spouse’s shady behavior and get you the assets that belong to you.
The discovery phase of divorce is crucial to finding out what your former partner has—documents and information relating to assets, income, debts, and liabilities. Your lawyer will look for tangible assets including:
- Any other personal property
Your lawyer will also look for intangible assets including:
- Savings accounts
- Checking accounts
- Brokerage accounts
- Retirement accounts
- Investment income
Your lawyer and possibly a forensic accountant on your lawyer’s investigative team will examine:
- Loan documents
- Title records
- Account statements
- Tax documents
- Any forms relating to the Internal Revenue Service
If you were what is known as the “out spouse” in your partnership or marriage, you are the one who did not handle the finances. Often in divorces in which one spouse was the “out spouse,” the spouse who controlled the finances is able to hide as much money as he or she wants without the “out spouse” figuring it out. A good divorce lawyer and forensic accountant will find money your spouse has hidden.
Tax filings allow a good divorce lawyer and forensic accountant to know everything they need to know regarding your spouse’s financial situation. Tax information that will be studied to find hidden assets includes:
- Form 1040: Income from wages
- Form 1040: Interest and dividend income
- Form 1040: Retirement plan distributions
- Carryforward: An IRS or state income tax rule that allows taxpayers to save an unused deduction, credit, or loss and use it in a later tax year.
- Itemized deductions
- Miscellaneous deductions
- Foreign accounts
- Profits or loss from a business
- Supplemental income and loss
Your lawyer will check the tax filings in both of your names in order to find hidden bank accounts.
If you’re considering divorce or if you’ve been asked for a divorce, you need to hire an experienced divorce lawyer right away. Don’t delay because the more time your spouse has to hide money, the harder it may be for your attorney to find those hidden assets.