While it's the duty of the court to decide the equitable distribution of marital property during a divorce, hidden assets will be left out of the process. As a result, your ex may be privy to an unfair share of assets, which is both unethical and illegal. While it can be difficult to uncover hidden assets, Forbes explains a few of the methods spouses typically use.
As soon as divorce is on the table, spouses should take stock of all marital property and assets. It's best to get the process started as soon as possible to prevent your ex from covering his or her tracks. Once you have an accurate inventory, you can compare it to other documents to see if there are any discrepancies. For instance, tax returns are a rich source of information regarding a couple's marital property.
If your ex is only declaring one source of income, you can verify the information by looking at the section Schedule E—Supplemental Income and Loss on your tax return. This section lists income from rental properties and partnerships, as well as other sources. You may see unexplained sources of income, which can then be provided to your legal team to be considered during the asset division process. Schedule A—Itemized Deductions can also help uncover information related to second homes or other properties you might not be aware of.
Keep in mind that a person typically conceals assets using similar methods. A person might transfer an item to a friend or business part to change ownership. He or she might also claim to have more debt than actually exists, which could also be used to determine things like spousal and child support decisions. In other instances, people claim the asset was never in their possession in the first place or claim that it was somehow lost.