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Gathering evidence if you suspect a hidden asset problem

When you decided to divorce, you'd hoped that you and your spouse would be able to resolve all the necessary issues in a swift and amicable manner. You wanted to do what needed doing, leave the past behind, then move on in life. After your spouse started making comments about leaving you with nothing or that he or she was going to make things as tough as possible on you in court, you knew you were in for a fight.

If you're one of many Pennsylvania spouses who believe their exes are hiding assets to keep them from being part of property division proceedings in divorce, you've got a serious problem on your hands. The good news is that the law is on your side because hiding assets in divorce is illegal. In order to resolve the issue, however, you must be able to prove your suspicion by showing evidence to the court. Knowing where to look to gather such evidence is the first step toward seeking justice.

Do you have children?

Using a custodial bank account for a minor child to hide money is one of the most common means spouses use when they're trying to stash cash somewhere. If your spouse's name is on a custodial account, it would be easy to move money in and out of the account without raising bank officials' concerns.

Delayed bonus or incentive issues

If you were aware that your spouse was expecting a nice chunk of change through a bonus or incentive payment at work, you might want to further inquire about it if it hasn't arrived when you thought it would. Some spouses hide assets by asking their employers to delay bonus pay until after the court finalizes their divorce.

Did your spouse recently overpay a debt?

It's wise to carefully review income tax documents and credit card statements if you are trying to gather evidence that your spouse is not being forthright about marital property. If one makes an overpayment to the Internal Revenue Service or a credit card company, it essentially creates a stash of cash that is available as a future refund.

Lending or repaying a loan

As you think back over recent months regarding how your spouse has been handling money, does anything raise suspicion? For instance, did he or she claim to be lending money to a relative or friend, or to be paying back a loan you knew nothing about? You might have an extended family member or friend who has agreed to hold onto money for your spouse until after your divorce.

Other issues that definitely warrant investigation

Some Pennsylvania spouses start making purchases of luxury items, such as jewelry or artwork, when they want to be secretive about marital assets. If your spouse recently bought an expensive painting, the plan might be to understate its value when it comes time to fully disclose all marital property and liabilities.

Getting to the bottom of the matter

You can start by asking your spouse to explain any issue that has caused you concern. Be on the lookout for signs of concern in his or her reaction to your inquiries. If, instead of simply answering your questions, your spouse flies off the handle or becomes defensive, or refuses to discuss the matter, it is definitely a red flag. Many people reach out for legal support rather than try to delve further into a hidden asset investigation on their own.

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