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Tracking down assets your spouse may hide

If your marriage is coming to an end, it is possible that there were trust issues long before the divorce procedure began. If these issues involved your family finances, you may have reason to feel concerned about how your property division will go. California law says that money and other assets acquired during your marriage belong to both of you, and you have a right to your half during a divorce.

There are numerous factors that may allow your spouse the opportunity to hide assets from you during property division. If you were not active in the household budget, if you did not work outside the home or if you did not know your spouse's income, you may have inadvertently allowed your spouse to stash money away without you even noticing it was missing. Nevertheless, to obtain your fair share, you may have to track it down.

Where to begin looking

A spouse may hide assets for a number of reasons. Your spouse may be afraid of financial struggle in the future, may feel as if you have no right to the money or may simply want to keep it from you out of spite. If you suspect your spouse is not disclosing all the marital assets, you have a right to fight for what you deserve. Common ways of hiding assets include these:

  • Hiding cash, titles or deeds in a safe deposit box
  • Keeping items in a home safe
  • Investing in real estate without telling you
  • Using a business entity to protect assets
  • Purchasing securities or other investments

A good place to begin is by taking an inventory of all your marital property. It is wise to do this as soon as possible before more assets begin to disappear. You may then wish to study your joint tax returns for the past few years. These documents will include information about mortgages, profits and losses, and interest your spouse may have earned on hidden assets.

Of course, there is always the chance that your spouse is using more sophisticated ways to keep marital assets safe from property division. For example, cryptocurrency is becoming a popular way to prevent a spouse from obtaining a fair share of marital assets. This and other methods can be quite difficult to track down, and having a skilled attorney with the right resources may improve your chances of obtaining what you deserve during your divorce.

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