Divorces can be very emotional. The bitter feelings of the breakup may lead both spouses to try and get as much as they possibly can and leave the other spouse with as little as possible. Sometimes these feelings are understandable, but they can lead to serious problems.
California is a community property state, meaning that, generally, all assets acquired by either spouse during the marriage are owned jointly and equally by each spouse. It does not matter which spouse earned the money, purchased the property or which spouse’s name is on an account. If a spouse acquired it during the marriage, it is community property.
Ways to find hidden assets during divorce
This is why one spouse may try to hide assets from the other spouse during the divorce. They may not want their spouse to receive part of what they may feel they earned alone. However, parties going through a divorce are legally obligated to disclose all their assets. If they try to conceal assets, they are breaking the law.
If you suspect your spouse of hiding assets in divorce, there may be ways for you to find out. Some places to look are:
- Tax returns: Look through every schedule and part of a tax return. The tax return could reveal income from unknown investment accounts, depreciation on unknown assets, information about real estate and other forms of income.
- Checking and savings account records: You could see large cash withdrawals you were unaware of, or you may see transfers to unknown accounts. You might also find canceled checks for various properties or investments.
- Loan applications: People often need to make financial statements when obtaining loans. These financial statements could contain information about unknown assets.
- County property records: A property records search could reveal whether the spouse owns undisclosed property.
If the statements made by your spouse or their initial disclosures do not seem to be in line with what you think they may earn or own, it is important to search for hidden assets through the discovery process. Experienced attorneys understand the complexities of property division during a divorce and may be able to help guide one through it.