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Identifying hidden assets in a divorce

When Arizona couples are ending their marriage and one spouse tries to hide assets from the other, there are a number of ways in which this might be done. The other spouse might be able to discover them by reviewing tax records and other financial records.

For example, one woman became suspicious when her husband stopped filing tax returns. He was overpaying estimated taxes in the hopes that after the divorce, he would be able to file singly and get the money back. Some people may try to put more money in 401(k)s or other tax-advantaged accounts, but these can usually be identified by looking at pay stubs, and a spouse may be entitled to a share of these assets. A Form 1099-R indicates that a person has made a withdrawal from a retirement account. A Schedule B or Schedule D, which deal with interest and dividends and capital gains and losses respectively, might also point to hidden assets.

Some people might hide assets in an existing company. There are certain red flags people may want to look for as well. If one spouse handles all the financial matters and does not allow the other spouse access to it, this could indicate problems. Changing in spending habits and moving money across accounts frequently could also be signs.

People who believe their spouse is hiding assets in a divorce may want to discuss the situation with an attorney. While some divorces can be negotiated out of court, hiding assets or other actions that indicate a lack of cooperation may mean litigation is necessary. Since Arizona is a community property state, each person is entitled to an equal share of marital assets. This means that even if one spouse has earned significantly less than the other, that person may get half of the value of assets acquired since the marriage.

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