In Massachusetts, divorcing spouses have a legal obligation to disclose all assets and debts both to each other and to the court. This disclosure is essential in ensuring that each spouse receives an equitable share of the marital estate. Unfortunately, your spouse may not be as forthcoming as he or she should.
Hiding assets in the lead-up to a divorce is a mistake, as doing so has some significant consequences. If you believe your soon-to-be ex-spouse may be trying to deceive you or the court, you may want to hire a forensic account to find missing wealth.
Examine relevant records
If you are thinking of divorcing your spouse, you should gather as many financial records as you can. A forensic account is likely to review these records to look for discrepancies or even potential fraud.
The following records are likely to be valuable to the investigation:
- Bank records
- Tax returns
- Insurance policies
- Real estate records
- Credit reports
- Employment applications
- Court records
If you do not have access to the records your forensic accountant needs, an experienced attorney can likely help you access them through a subpoena or other legal means.
Talk to witnesses
While examining relevant records may shed light on deceptive behavior, your forensic accountant may also talk to individuals who have knowledge of your spouse’s financial behaviors. These witnesses may be accountants, real estate agents, bank employees, business partners or others.
Information from witnesses may help your forensic account to fill in any gaps he or she sees in a document review. Ultimately, though, you can expect the financial professional on your divorce team to use all available legal and ethical avenues to find hidden assets.