Seeking hidden assets may be a wise move before property division

Getting divorced can certainly be a confusing ordeal emotionally, but it can also be complicated financially. This is especially true for those who feel that their soon-to-be-exes are hiding assets from them. Here are a few tips for discovering concealed assets before tackling property division during a divorce proceeding in California.

Seeking out the help of a private investigator, or PI, may be the first thought that comes to the mind of a divorcing spouse who feels that his or her partner is not being forthcoming about all of his or her assets. However, before spending the money on a PI, a suspicious spouse may find it helpful to start with the couple's jointly-filed tax returns. Specifically, he or she could choose to examine Form 1040.

On this form, Schedule B may provide information about any interest and dividends that the other party might be receiving from bank accounts, mutual funds or other investments that one does not know about. In addition, Schedule D discloses any capital losses and gains from the sales of assets such as fund shares and individual stocks. Furthermore, Schedule E offers information about losses or income generated from sources such as rental real estate, trusts and estates, and S-corporations and partnerships. All of these are sources of income that an individual may have never spoken to his or her spouse about in an effort to retain the proceeds for himself or herself.

Discovering hidden assets is a critical step toward ensuring each party ends up with his or her rightful share of the marital property following a divorce. When it comes to property division, if two spouses can find common ground on how to split their cash and other items, they might be able to achieve a divorce settlement outside of court. If not, they have no choice but to go to trial, where a judge in California will ultimately decide for them how to split their assets.

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