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Uncovering hidden assets during a divorce

On Behalf of | Aug 27, 2021 | Property Division |

Some Wisconsin couples may be able to quickly find an amicable settlement for their divorce, agreeing easily about how to divide their property and end the marriage. However, others may face a more contentious process, especially after a marriage that ended in more difficult circumstances like abuse or infidelity. This may also be the case for couples that have more significant assets, if one spouse aims to hide their assets and prevent them from being divided.

Attempts to hide assets

It can be a challenge to uncover hidden assets during property division, especially if one spouse knows much less about the couple’s financial situation than the other one. Some people who wish to hide funds simply deny that they have the asset at all, transfer the money to another person, claim that they lost the asset or investment over time or claim that they have more debt than they actually do in order to offset their assets. While people may claim they have lost money, there is typically some type of paper trail or digital record tracking what has happened to the asset. Past tax returns and brokerage records can provide some information to help the other spouse track funds.

Tax returns may provide clues

When examining a past tax return, there are items to examine that could highlight potential hidden assets. Itemized deductions could indicate assets that are not disclosed elsewhere, and interest and dividends reports identify sources of income or other assets that produce dividends. This record could be compared against the list of assets disclosed during the divorce.

There are other documents that can help people get the information they need. For example, mortgage closing documents or safe deposit boxes may contain extra information, and blockchain records may indicate histories of cryptocurrency transactions. Examining this information can help to reveal any assets that are being deliberately excluded from property division.