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How can I find all the hidden marital assets in my divorce?

When New Yorkers file for divorce, sometimes discovering all of their spouses' assets can be like going on a treasure hunt. There are many tactics used by divorcing spouses to hide or devalue assets from their wives and husbands. It can be nearly impossible to get a true accounting of one's actual financial picture without hiring a forensic accountant. Experienced divorce attorneys know that hiring one to ferret out hidden assets is essential to their clients.

Sometimes the client may be aware of some of the tactics to devalue business assets because their spouse has been using them to cheat on their income taxes. A divorce usually will cause one spouse to give up these secrets in order to get a better settlement deal.

Spouses should be particularly wary if a formerly-thriving business suddenly starts losing money after a divorce filing. Cash-based businesses like bars, restaurants and laundromats are especially easy places to hide money. However, they are not the only ones.

Business owners and even doctors and other professionals can offer cash discounts to their clients and patients and pocket the money. Expenses can be inflated on paper to hide profits further.

Judges are trained to be suspicious when flourishing businesses begin floundering after the divorce petition is filed. Even if a judge doesn't catch it, a private investigator can be hired to do things like sit in a bar and count the number of drinks that are sold versus the alleged total of the night's receipts. A forensic accountant can review the medical supplies used and ordered by a doctor and contrast it with the supposed decline in his practice.

There is no reason to accept less than what is legally owed to you in a property settlement in your divorce. Your New York attorney can assist you with getting your fair share of the marital assets.

Source: Bloomberg Businessweek, "Hunting for Hidden Cash In Divorce Proceedings" Ben Steverman, Dec. 30, 2014

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