How Do You Know If Your Spouse Is Withholding Financial Information in Divorce?

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In divorce, both sides are required to produce financial records. This is used in determining spousal support, child support and division of the couple’s marital property. Unfortunately, in some cases, a party won’t follow the rules and will withhold financial information in divorce. If you suspect that your spouse is hiding assets or income, there are steps your attorney can take to verify your spouse’s finances.

Discovery of Financial Information

As part of the divorce process, the parties engage in discovery. Each party will request that the other party produce financial records related to the marriage including bank, retirement and investment accounts; loans; credit card balances; insurance policies; wills; trusts; deeds/title certificates; tax returns; business records and other relevant documents. If a party refuses, the other side can either get a court order to compel the party to deliver the documents or subpoena third parties like banks, accountants, financial advisors and employers to obtain those records. Typically, spouses are required to provide 3 years of records but it could be more in some cases.

In addition, the parties can be deposed to confirm that all accounts have been disclosed.

Analyzing Financial Information

Once your spouse gives you the information, it should be reviewed by your attorney and financial experts if needed. One of the objectives of the review is to determine if there is evidence of possible unidentified accounts. For example, are there transfers going from your spouse’s regular bank account to an unidentified account? From what account are credit card bills being paid? Where are deposits into your spouse’s investment or retirement accounts coming from or going to? Funding shouldn’t be from accounts that you don’t know about.

If the analysis doesn’t reveal any suspicious activity, you can feel fairly certain that your spouse isn’t withholding financial information. Alternatively, if there are questions raised by the records, you can depose your spouse regarding those issues and/or subpoena additional records if you can identify that there are missing account(s).

In some cases, a forensic accountant may be needed to conduct an investigation. Forensic accountants are skilled at determining if money is being hidden or funneled to an unknown account. Such experts can also trace your spouse’s personal and business income and audit expenses to uncover possible fraud or other questionable activity.

While it’s possible to hide financial information, working with experienced lawyers and financial experts can minimize the risks.

If you are considering divorce, contact us to discuss how we can help you achieve a positive result in your case.

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