Hidden assets or the attempt to hide assets is a common issue in divorce. People with any income level and any amount of assets could attempt to hide something from a spouse or the courts. However, this issue does often seem to impact couples with higher marital assets. In other words, the greater the value of your household, the more carefully you need to consider potentially hidden assets.
Does your spouse have a competitive or vindictive streak? In other words, is he or she likely to want to "win" in the divorce or seek to punish you for filing? Do you have substantial assets? Does your spouse refuse to share critical information, like payroll or tax documents, with you? All of these factors can impact the likelihood of hidden assets during your divorce.
Hidden assets are much more common than you think
According to the National Endowment for Financial Education, roughly one out of three people who combined financial assets with a spouse or partner admitted to financial secrets. These could include hidden savings or checking accounts, secret debts or even stashes of cash hidden in a home or safety deposit box. These hidden assets and financial transactions can cause an issue during marriage if the other spouse finds out about this deception.
While many people engage in this behavior during marriage without negative intention, during divorce, hidden assets can impact the other spouse. In order for the North Carolina courts to divide assets in fair manner, there needs to be a full accounting of the assets from the marriage. When valuable assets remain hidden from the courts and one spouse, that skews the outcome of asset division in the favor of the spouse hiding something.
Locating hidden assets may require professional help
Sometimes, you happen across a bank statement or other document that makes you realize your spouse has hidden assets. For many others, however, this concern takes some effort to prove. Obtaining a copy of your financial records is key to tracking down any hidden assets of value. Reviewing those records in detail, however, can be time-consuming and difficult. It may be in your best interests to work with a financial professional, like a forensic accountant, to locate hidden assets.
Working with a forensic accountant is often the fastest and most straightforward means of locating hidden assets. A forensic accountant can locate hidden accounts, help you track purchases and withdrawals and even help you price non-financial assets based on what was paid for them. All of this information can help you to create a more accurate report of your assets and ensure a more reasonable and fair outcome to the asset division process.