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Tips to determine if a spouse is hiding assets during divorce

Even Pennsylvanians who have never gone through it, know that divorce can be complicated. The process can trigger considerable emotion and exaggerate distrust between soon-to-be ex-spouses. One of most divisive issues is property division, especially if one spouse believes the other spouse is hiding assets but cannot prove it.

Full disclosure of all marital assets is important so that both spouses get their fair share during division. There are several ways to find out whether a spouse is hiding assets. Tax returns, financial records and public records can show whether a spouse has honestly disclosed finances and real estate properties.

Finding undisclosed bank accounts is harder and usually means tracing bank statements after reviewing a spouse's pay stubs and financial records for other income. In addition, if credit card bills and mortgage are being covered by other funds, there is a possibility that the other spouse is using an undisclosed financial account.

An employer may be subpoenaed to provide information about a spouse's retirement plan, stock options, deferred compensation and any other benefits. A subpoena can also be requested to uncover questionable money transfers to undisclosed accounts and their owners.

If monthly family expenses exceed monthly income, then check to see whether savings were used to cover the deficit. If not, the difference may have been paid from another source. It is also sound to review credit cards for significant purchases, which may not have been divulged.

Regardless of how complicated divorce is, each spouse must keep in mind that life afterward will be a challenge. Each spouse should have a secure future with a fair share of marital assets. Because divorce is a legal proceeding, both spouses should understand that lying is punishable.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Discovering Hidden Assets: What Your Spouse Hasn't Disclosed During Your Divorce," Bonnie Sockel-Stone, Oct. 30, 2013

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