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Finding Hidden Income and Assets

Curiale Hostnik PLLC Dec. 1, 2021

It is not uncommon for some individuals who go through divorce to hide their income and assets from their spouses. Some people are willing to go to great lengths to leave their spouse with as little as possible.

If you suspect that your spouse is hiding income and/or assets to prevent you from getting a fair divorce settlement, reach out to a knowledgeable divorce attorney to help you uncover the truth and prove that your spouse has indeed attempted to hide assets. At Curiale Hostnik PLLC, our skilled and detail-oriented attorneys assist clients in divorce and property division cases in Tacoma, Washington, and other cities throughout Pierce County.

Division of Assets in Washington

Before you begin looking for hidden income and assets in your divorce, it is important to understand Washington laws pertaining to the division of assets. Like some other states, Washington categorizes a divorcing couple’s property into the community and separate property.

  1. Community property. Washington law presumes that all assets acquired during the marriage should be considered “community property” and are subject to division unless the parties can prove that the assets are their separate property. Common examples of community property include the marital home, automobiles, debts accumulated during the marriage, bank accounts, and many more.

  2. Separate property. Under Washington law, separate property includes any assets that a spouse acquired before the marriage. Assets acquired by gift or inheritance during the marriage are also considered separate property.

Unlike other states, Washington has not enacted equitable distribution laws. This means that when you file for divorce in Washington, there is a good chance that your community property will be divided equally.

How Your Spouse May Attempt to Hide Income or Assets

If your spouse is trying to hide income or assets, he or she may:

  • Purchase items that could be overlooked during the divorce

  • Hide cash in a safe deposit box

  • Underreport income on tax returns

  • Pay the IRS or creditors more than necessary to get a refund after the divorce is final

  • Voluntarily take a pay cut, quit their job, or delay finding employment

  • Create fake debts and use marital assets to pay off those fake debts

  • Set up a custodial account in the child’s name

  • Transfer stock or investment accounts into the name of a business partner, family members, or others

Trying to prove that your spouse is hiding assets can be difficult, especially when you do not know where to start. That is why you might want to consult with an attorney to help you address your concerns and conduct a thorough and detailed investigation.

Uncovering the Truth

When attempting to find hidden income and assets during a divorce, it is essential to take the following steps:

  1. Speak with an attorney. This is always the first step a spouse should take when they suspect that their soon-to-be-former spouse is hiding income or assets. If you do not address the matter immediately, you risk not getting your fair share of assets when a divorce becomes final.

  2. Only look in places you have legal access to. Trying to find hidden assets during a divorce can be tricky because you may not have access to your spouse’s accounts. You should not look in places you have no legal access to. Do not attempt to hack into your spouse’s email or bank account.

  3. Know what to look for. In order to uncover the truth about your spouse’s hidden assets, you may have to do your own research. Get copies of your tax returns to determine if there are any sources of income you did not know about. In addition, look for suspicious transactions on your bank account and credit card statements.

  4. Use the discovery process. Sometimes, using the discovery process is the only way to find hidden income and assets during a divorce. Your attorney will review your particular case and help you understand whether or not you need the discovery process to find evidence of hidden assets.

Working with an Experienced Family Law Attorney

If you suspect your spouse is hiding income or assets, it can be incredibly frustrating. Reach out to a skilled family law attorney to help you uncover hidden assets and walk you through every stage of the divorce process. At Curiale Hostnik PLLC, our divorce attorneys have assisted numerous clients in finding proof of hidden assets and striving for a fair division of assets in their divorce cases. If you suspect that your spouse is hiding assets, contact our family law attorney in Tacoma. We also serve clients in Gig Harbor, University Place, Lakewood, Puyallup, and other cities throughout Pierce County, Washington.