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How can you prove that your spouse is hiding assets?

Last month, we offered advice on what divorcing spouses should do if they believed that their soon-to-be ex-spouse was hiding assets. In that divorce blog post, we reported that nearly one-third of adults admitted to lying to their husband or wife about money, and that almost two-thirds have actually hidden money from their spouse.

While there are consequences for hiding assets during divorce, there is one task that must be completed before your spouse is penalized and your property division altered: you must be able to prove that your spouse has hidden the assets and lied about his or her finances. In most cases, each spouse is required to provide a signed, notarized financial affidavit detailing his or her income, debts and assets. So how can you prove that document is false, especially if your spouse has refused to share any financial information with you during your marriage?

Depending on your spouse’s financial activity and history, there may be several other documents from which you can glean financial information that will hopefully prove that your spouse lied on his or her financial affidavit. These outside documents may be even more reliable and beneficial than a financial affidavit because they are usually prepared by a neutral third party. This means that they are less likely to have been altered and manipulated by a less-than-truthful spouse.

Examples of such documents include mortgage or other loan applications, personal or business financial statements, bankruptcy documents, lease applications and others. Although it may take a subpoena to get hold of these items, it will likely be worth the extra work.

Source: Fraud Files, “Alternative Sources of Financial Information in Divorce,” Tracy Coenen, Sept. 6, 2012

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