Hidden assets: Uncovering what your spouse is hiding

Even before you file for divorce, you start worrying about hidden assets. Your spouse never talks to you about money. There always seems to be plenty of it to go around, but you never see any of it. You don't know where it goes, when it comes in or how much your family even has. When people ask, you just shrug, and they laugh it off as though that must be the greatest luxury.

You did enjoy it during your marriage. You never had to worry about anything. But now that you're going to split up, you worry that you will definitely not get what you deserve because you don't even know what was there to begin with. Is your spouse simply going to hide assets, lie in court and then keep what they want for themselves?

It is a risk. Here are a few ways to uncover these assets:

1. Learn more about your income

The more you know, the better. It's all right that you have taken a hands-off approach up until now. That can change. Try to find out as much as possible about what your family has and what you earn so that you have a general idea of what your wealth should look like. If your spouse comes to court with a far smaller number, that's a red flag.

2. Look at tax returns

If your spouse followed the law, they made accurate declarations on your tax returns. Look over as many of these documents as you can. They give you a great idea of what your income looked like, and your spouse probably saved them all in case of an audit. You can also find assets that he or she declared in the tax returns, even if they never told you about them.

3. Watch out for sudden giving

Bank statements may also help you. Look for any evidence that your spouse has given away large amounts of money. For example, some people make up fake debts to friends and then "pay" those debts back. Others suddenly feel like it's a great time to give a gift or a loan to a sibling or a parent. In these cases, rest assured that your spouse is likely planning to take that money back after the divorce.

4. Check mortgage closing documents

If you're worried about other types of assets -- real estate that your spouse bought without telling you, for instance -- it pays to look at recent mortgage closing documents. After all, before getting a mortgage, the lender wants to know about all of your sources of income, your assets and your liabilities. Your spouse had to list out his or her assets on those papers.

If you do think that your spouse has hidden assets from you, you're in for a complicated divorce, and you must be aware of all of your legal rights in Connecticut.

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