Uncovering Hidden Assets / by Cassandra Hearn

California is a community property state. This means that in a divorce, each side is entitled to an equal share of the marital assets. Unfortunately, in some cases, one spouse will attempt to hide marital assets to end up receiving a larger share than he or she would have been entitled to under California law. There are some techniques to assist in determining whether a spouse is hiding marital assets.

The most simple way is to go to any financial accounts you share with your spouse and review the monthly statements. A tell-tale indicator that a spouse is squirreling away funds is frequent cash withdrawals for which there is no explanation. If, for example, a spouse is withdrawing hundreds of dollars a month in cash from a joint account with no way to account for how the funds were spent, it is possible that he or she is actually depositing that money in a separate account somewhere. Checking social media posts or even the browsing history on your family computer can show if your spouse is going to websites associated with particular financial institutions. If you discover your spouse has been visiting the website of a particular bank and you did not have previous reason to believe your spouse held any accounts with that bank, it could be a red flag that your spouse has opened an account here and is diverting funds. You should also be on the lookout for large, expensive purchases, especially if the item purchased is being stored outside of the marital home. You should also carefully examine your tax documents for discrepancies.

If simple methods fail to uncover the source or location of hidden assets, it may be necessary to hire a professional to assist in finding the property. There are many different types of professionals who could be helpful. In the case where hidden liquid funds or accounts are suspected, a forensic accountant or a CPA may be able to uncover the hidden accounts. These professionals will look closely at tax documents, bank statements, and credit card account statements to help trace the path of marital funds. These professionals will be looking for other ways to hide funds, such as delaying taking bonuses, failure to report certain income, or paying off a phony debt.

We have extensive experience in helping our clients determine if assets are being hidden and determining the next steps to take. Contact us today at 619-800-0384 for a consultation to discuss your divorce and your assets.