The road to a fair divorce settlement, as many Florida residents will discover, starts much earlier than the divorce process. Ensuring that all assets are considered during the division of property means being proactive about asset discovery.
Start gathering information and copies of all account statements, tax forms and any other financial documents even before separating from your spouse. During the actual divorce process, it might be more likely that some of these documents disappear or that some marital property has already been hidden by your spouse.
What to look for
Figuring out if you know about all accounts might take some detective work. However, there are some areas that might yield the information you need to push for a fairer divorce settlement. These areas include:
- Savings account statements that might reveal deposits or withdrawals that you do not recognize
- Cancelled check and checking account statements that might show purchases you did not know about, including property
- Tax returns, as people are usually more unwilling to hide assets from the IRS than from their spouse
- Property records, which show the owners of the properties and their values
Other sources that might help during asset discovery
As well as official financial documents, you might also investigate if there are other people involved in helping your spouse hide some assets. This can include friends and relatives. It can even include your spouse’s boss, who might be delaying the awarding of some bonus or stock options until the divorce is final. Finally, if the end of the marriage came about due to infidelity, property and gifts bought from marital property for that third person should also be considered when reaching a divorce settlement.
If you suspect your spouse is hiding assets, begin by compiling all the financial documents you can. You can also ask your lawyer to do an asset search during the discovery process.