TO SEARCH FOR HIDDEN ASSETS DURING DIVORCEBy Ginita Wall, CPA, CFP
husband just told me he wants a divorce, and he says heís
been thinking about it for quite a while. Iím afraid that
heís taken steps to hide money so that I wonít receive a
fair share of our property.
smart of your to be suspicious. Although by and large people
are pretty honest while going through divorce, too many
women trust their husbands when they shouldnít.
Looking for hidden assets is part of my work as a
forensic accountant. Here are some of the places your spouse
may have hidden assets.
- Antiques, artwork or hobby equipment that is
overlooked and undervalued. Look for lush furnishings in
- Collusion with his employer to delay payment of
bonuses, stock options or raises until after the
- Income, often cash, that is unreported on tax returns
and financial statements. You life-style costs during
marriage probably exceeded reported income, so document
your cash expenditures.
- A custodial account set up in the name of a child,
using the childís social security number.
- Debt repayment of a phony debt to a friend or family
member, with the pre-arrangement that the friend will
hold the money until after the divorce, then give it to
- Salary paid to a nonexistent employee from your
husbandís business. The checks will be voided after
- Money paid from the business to someone close, such as
father or girlfriend, for business services not
rendered. The money will no doubt be given back to your
spouse after the divorce is final.
- Delay in signing long-term business contracts until
after the divorce.
- Expenses paid for a girlfriend, such as gifts, travel,
jewelry, rent or college tuition.
- Investment in municipal bonds or Series EE Savings
Bonds for which no interest is reported on tax returns.
to Search for Hidden Assets
During Divorce was written
Wall, CPA, CFP