Washington is a community property state, which means that assets acquired in the marriage are joint assets. Courts distribute joint assets equally in divorce settlements in community property states, ensuring both parties fair and equitable treatment. That asset division only remains fair as long as both parties are forthcoming and honest about their assets.
Unfortunately, spouses hide assets more frequently than you think. There are some common signs to watch for.
Reluctance to share tax returns
If you were not responsible for the financial management tasks in the marriage, your spouse might have all of the tax records. Reviewing tax documents can help you identify any assets that your spouse might currently have or held at any point in the past. When he or she is reluctant to share those records, request them from the IRS. As one party on a joint tax return, you have legal rights to copies. Review the last several years of returns for any discrepancies.
If your soon-to-be-ex is spending money that does not fit your family’s financial position, they may have hidden savings or investment accounts. Check your credit reports and research the files in your home office for any indication of funds that you were unaware of.
Sometimes hidden assets are harder to uncover, especially with advanced planning and information isolation. When you suspect that the other party in your divorce is hiding something, forensic accounting can help uncover the truth. Trust your gut feelings and be proactive about protecting your financial interests in your divorce.