FINDING HIDDEN ASSETS IN DIVORCE: Searching for Clues in Taxes, Investment Accounts, Paychecks, and Business Records


Every divorce and legal separation in Arizona requires the division of assets. With some couples, that process of division can be complex and contentious. Adding to that tension is the unfortunate reality that some individuals will attempt to conceal assets from their spouses.

Hiding assets in anticipation of divorce.

Although it is unwise and can seriously undermine a party’s case when discovered, many a divorcing spouse makes it a point to try to hide assets. More often than not, this secreting away of property will be attempted before the petition for dissolution is filed, in anticipation of a divorce. Experience has shown that the more time a spouse has before the petition is filed, the more likely he or she is to conceal assets from the other spouse.

When what you find is the decoy.

If hidden assets are found easily, then they could be a mere decoy for the greater amount hidden more carefully. Many a divorce attorney has observed a party, sometimes their own client, using a decoy to divert attention from the more valuable concealed asset. Experienced divorce lawyers watch for any evidentiary clues to hidden assets.

Here’s an example: The decoy is a local bank account opened by one spouse and funded with marital assets, but not a lot of money. The account is easily discovered by the other spouse who, having found the treasure, stops looking for more clues. Meanwhile, the main hidden asset is a well-funded offshore account under a different name. If the other spouse stops looking for clues, then it’s unlikely that he or she will simply stumble upon the concealed offshore account.


We’re talking about discovering assets that one spouse concealed to avoid division in a divorce or legal separation. If there is any suspicion that a spouse may have hidden away assets, then the sleuthing begins. Here are four tips on where and how to search for clues to hidden assets in financial records.

Tip #1: Search for clues in tax returns.

Tip #2: Search for clues in bank and investment accounts.

Tip #3: Search for clues in paychecks.

Tip #4: Search for clues in business records.


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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Scott David Stewart, Stewart & Lane, PLC | Attorney Advertising

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