We’ve been looking in recent posts at the topic of hiding assets in divorce. As we’ve pointed out, this issue is important to consider both in the negotiation of prenuptial agreements and during divorce when negotiating and arguing the disposition of marital property in court.

Failure to make full disclosure of assets is not something that can always be immediately recognized in a partner. In some cases, it will be clearer than others that a fiancé or spouse is hiding something. In any case, it is important to conduct the most thorough investigation possible to ensure the prevention of fraud. Again, there are a variety of strategies that can be used to investigate potential asset hiding. 

Thorough investigation of income tax returns is a particularly important way to determine whether any assets have been hidden. Some experts say income tax returns are the first place to go when verifying full disclosure since tax returns provide a record of income-earning assets and assets sales. Tax records can be falsified, though, and it is important to keep that in mind.

Other areas to check when verifying full disclosure of assets include: savings accounts; money market funds; checking account statements; cancelled checks; credit card receipts; insurance statements, which show the cash value of existing policies; bank statements and ATM withdrawals; loan applications and personal net work statements at banks. Other areas of investigation can include looking at business cash flow, financial analysis of the other party’s lifestyle and credit reports.

Investigating whether assets have been hidden can be quite complicated, and it can become necessary to involve financial experts to sort matters out. A skilled attorney, however, can take precautions to ensure full disclosure of assets prior to the signing of a prenuptial agreement, and ensure in divorce that a thorough investigation is undertaken to ensure fair division of existing assets.