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5 things to know about hidden assets in a divorce

The property division process of a divorce is one of the most contentious ones that most people will deal with. In high-asset divorces, especially those that are already tense, hidden assets are a real concern. If you walked out on your husband and filed for a divorce, it is imperative that you take the time to find out if there are any hidden assets.

1. Assets can be hidden in plain sight

Your ex-husband might have hidden assets in plain sight. This is often the case if your ex knew that you were thinking about divorce. Making extra payments on the mortgage, making payments on loans from friends or family members, buying extravagant gifts, paying off credit cards and similar transactions can all fall under this category. Transferring assets to trusts or from one trust to a different trust is another way of hiding assets.

2. Businesses can hide assets

Businesses are sometimes the location of hidden assets. Unusual payments and transactions that aren't normal are signs that hidden assets might be present. Some business owners might create fictitious employees and pay a salary to them as a way to amass a hidden savings. Fraudulent payments to other businesses or contr actors can also signal hidden assets.

3. Electronic trails are important

Keeping hidden assets hidden is difficult with the electronic records of the computer age. Checking electronic records for stock transactions, bank accounts, investment accounts and other similar accounts can provide an insight into where money is going. Credit card statements and phone records could hold the key to finding hidden assets.

4. Social media accounts can provide clues

While you might not find actual hidden assets on your ex-husband's social media accounts, you might find signs that there are hidden assets. For example, if you know that your ex shouldn't have the money to buy a yacht, but you see pictures of him claiming to own one, that is a clue that something is amiss. Checking the pictures and status messages on these accounts might prove useful if you have an inkling that your ex is living a secret life.

5. Income tax returns and public records can help

Taking a look at business tax returns, your ex's personal income tax returns and public records for assets can also clue you into whether your ex is being truthful about assets. Unusual entries in these records warrant a closer look into what is going on with the money and the assets.

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