Where the saying “more money, more problems” goes, that’s probably never truer than when a couple with significant financial means is getting divorced — if one half doesn’t want to play fair.
Many splits between high-asset couples go just fine. Everyone walks away from the situation with a fair deal and a minimum of fuss because both parties put all their cards (and an itemized list of their financial holdings and property) on the negotiating table from the start. That’s actually the way that divorce is supposed to happen.
So, what do you do when you think your spouse is lying about his or her business income, hiding money in an offshore account or otherwise trying to skirt the system? Here are some techniques to try:
Hiring a financial investigator
Financial investigators use whatever information they have to start tracking down hidden assets. Often, they start looking carefully at a spouse’s close friends or relatives — who may be helping them hide assets by holding property in their own names until after the divorce. They are also pros at tracking down assets that are held by the spouse under a nickname or variation of his or her usual moniker and will usually carefully comb through old tax records, bank account statements and more to find hidden assets.
Comparing lifestyle to reported income
Sometimes, a spouse’s actions speak louder than words. If a spouse is living a luxury lifestyle but claiming he or she is unable to afford spousal support, for example, documenting the way that your spouse is spending money on trips, restaurants, vehicles, clothing and more can often convince a judge to look deeper into a case and demand answers.
Carefully examining any foreign contacts
Offshore bank accounts can be hard to find, but it is possible. A spouse’s passport or travel history may help you start to locate foreign funds. A close inspection of tax records, mortgage applications, business loan applications and other financial documents may reveal assets that were listed in the past that have mysteriously disappeared.
If you suspect your spouse of keeping things hidden during divorce, it’s time to find out how to best approach the situation in order to protect yourself financially.