Mediation Strategies for Discovering Whether a Spouse is Hiding Assets

During divorce one might think that hiring a lawyer is the only way to discover whether their spouse is hiding assets. They are unaware that the same strategies for uncovering hidden assets can be employed in mediation – with much less time and expense. Here are the strategies that can you and/or your mediator can employ during mediation:

1. Look at Prior Tax Returns

If your spouse is involved in any sort of cash employment or enterprise it is possible that they may be concealing how much they have earned and reporting less on their tax returns.  If how much money you have and can spend does not line up with what your spouse is reporting, it is wise to be suspicious.  Additionally, if you notice strange deductions for things such as estate planning or deductions for a safe deposit box it could be a clue that something is going on.

2. Interrogatories Under Oath

As mentioned, lying about or hiding assets is unlawful.  During a divorce each spouse will be asked questions about their finances and assets and swear under oath that their responses are ‘true and accurate to the best of their knowledge, information, and belief.’

3. Look at Prior and Current Bank Statements

What better place to look for suspicious activity or hidden assets than on prior or current bank statements?  This is particularly true if one spouse handled most of the finances.  If a spouse is ignorant to their financial status during their marriage it may have presented opportunities for one spouse to conceal assets, withdraw money, take out loans, and to whom a spouse may have written checks.

4. Employ an agreed upon neutral Forensic Accountant to Examine your Tax Returns, Bank Statements, and All Other Relevant Financial Books and Records

In mediation you and your spouse can choose one neutral forensic accountant. This would result in discovering any hidden assets without the substantial expense involved when each divorcing spouse’s lawyer chooses separate forensic accountants.

These mediation strategies are yet additional advantages to mediating rather than litigating your divorce.