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What to do if your ex is hiding assets before your divorce

Most people who enter into a marriage do so with the intention of being together for the rest of their lives. As we all know, that doesn't always happen. Some couples who get divorced are able to do so amicably with as few problems as possible, but others are not so fortunate.

Some soon-to-be exes do not want their spouse to have access to all of the marital assets. They may even go so far as to hide these assets from the other person. If you're getting divorced here in New Jersey, and you're suspicious that your spouse could be hiding assets, experts have ways that you may be able to remedy the situation.

Where should I look for hidden assets?

Experts say there are several common places that a spouse might decide to hide assets. The simplest way is to simply deny the existence of the asset. The spouse could also say that the asset existed but was lost. In either case, you may need to provide documentation such as a receipt to prove the asset did indeed exist.

Another method involves a spouse giving the asset to a third party. He or she may try to claim that the asset belonged to that person and not to the other spouse. The last typical method is by creating debt that does not exist. This would mean that a court could award a higher settlement to that spouse because he or she supposedly has higher debt. Old tax returns may be the best place to prove hidden assets in all of these situations.

What signs indicate my spouse might be hiding assets?

The tax returns that could prove an asset's existence to a court can also serve as a source for you to know about them. Different schedules in a tax return may hold clues about a potential hidden asset. For example, Schedule A contains itemized deductions and reports assets or income that is not reported on other parts of a tax return. They're often used to report a deduction on property taxes, which could indicate a secret property.

Form Schedule B could also hold important information because it reports interest and dividends generated from certain assets. You can check anything listed here to see if they indicate the existence of unknown assets. Other schedules on a tax return can also reveal the possibility of a hidden asset, so be certain that you thoroughly analyze the return. Enlisting professional help may be the best solution.

Where else should I look?

Be sure to check actual physical locations besides just looking over financial documents. A spouse might hide assets or helpful documents in a safe deposit box or a secure location in your home. One document that many people don't consider are those relating to a mortgage closing. Those often have a list of assets, income and other important financial information that a mortgage lender requires.

No one wants to believe that their spouse would hide assets to avoid a fair divorce settlement, but it happens. If you're considering a divorce, gathering up all your financial documentation could mean a world of difference. Be sure that you are as informed as possible on what your marital assets contain.

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