You probably feel like you have a million different things on your mind now that you are going through a divorce. If you are a parent, you are probably worrying about dividing parenting time and figuring out child support. Maybe spousal support is still up in the air. Which property is marital, and which is separate? In the middle of all of these things, it can be easy to overlook assets going missing.
Property division is supposed to be equitable in the state of Utah. If your ex has hidden away some of the marital assets, then you will not receive a fair share of the marital property. This could potentially leave you without a secure financial foundation after your divorce.
Where can I find hidden assets?
Realizing that a specific asset has disappeared is a disconcerting experience. You might even feel hopeless and think that there is no hope of ever recovering it. However, there are usually only a few methods for hiding an asset in divorce. These are:
- Denying it ever existed
- Pretending you lost it
- Temporarily transferring ownership to another person
- Creating a line of fake debt
Whichever method your ex uses, it will usually create a paper trail. Examining past tax returns can give you a good indication of where to start locating the beginning of that paper trail. Tax returns provide information on property taxes, undisclosed sources of income, interest from investments, assets purchased by businesses and much more.
How can I prevent this from happening?
Fully stopping your ex-spouse from hiding marital property is not an easy task. While you probably cannot stop him or her from at least trying, you can protect yourself. If you are planning to file for a divorce, create a thorough inventory of all marital assets beforehand. If your ex is the one who filed, make an inventory as soon as you can. Having a list to which you can refer will help you identify any possible missing assets.
There are a few places to look if you are not sure where to find information about which assets you own. For example, mortgage closing documents can be extremely helpful in this situation. These documents list your assets, sources of income and liabilities, which will help you create your inventory.
You don’t have to give up
Looking for hidden assets can feel like fighting a losing battle. From trying to figure out which assets are missing to tracking down paper trails, you may even wonder if it is worth it. What is important to remember is that you deserve a fair share of your marital assets, which you will not get if there is missing property.
When assets go missing during a divorce, acting sooner rather than later is better. This is why it can be so helpful to speak with an attorney experienced in Utah family law. Working alongside an experienced attorney can help provide clarity on difficult matters, including things like property division, child custody matters and more.