Unless a prenuptial agreement is in place, high-net worth individuals put at risk their high-performing investments, pensions or stock brokerage accounts when property is divided up in a divorce. This is why, despite being illegal, spouses sensing a divorce filing is looming quickly transfer their assets to friends, family members or offshore accounts for safekeeping.
Doing so, though, is not as easy as it once was.The use of electronic records has made it difficult for spouses to keep things “secret.”
If you suspect your spouse has either a pension or retirement account, then one of the best ways to learn if he or she does is to check the listing of benefits listed on the company’s website. If you can’t find much there, then you may want to look for account statements or emails regarding it.
As for potentially secret real estate, your spouse’s tax returns can tell you a lot about his or her investments and taxes that are being paid on them. Searching property records in different counties or states where you suspect your spouse may have property may prove to be eye-opening as well.
Reviewing your spouse’s web browser history on both his or her computer and smartphone can also provide you with insight into the names of potential banking institutions or investment firms your spouse is dealing with. And, if you think your spouse is running a side business, then you may benefit from checking state business ownership records or LinkedIn to see if they’re listed as being affiliated with a new one.
A study previously published by the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE) highlighted how spouses in at least two out of every three marriages are hiding assets. Another survey, conducted by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML), suggests that at least nine out of every 10 attorneys are aware that their clients use some type of smartphone spy tools to uncover their spouse’s financial infidelity.
If you’re considering leaving your spouse and you’re concerned he or she may have some undisclosed investments, then you may want to discuss options for uncovering them with an experienced Fort Myers high-asset divorce attorney.
Source: The Huffington Post, “Uncovering Hidden Assets in Divorce Litigation,” David Centeno, accessed Aug. 24, 2017