Six Places to Look for Hidden Assets During Divorce

HiddenWhen couples divorce, mistrust abounds. One of the first things people think of when their spouse asks them for divorce is, he must have been stashing away money.

You know more about your financial situation than any stranger could, so before you hire a private eye to look for hidden funds, think carefully about your circumstances and how your spouse could have squirreled money away.

1. Was his paycheck automatically deposited to your joint bank account?

If so, look through the check registers and credit card statements to see if you find any unusual outlays or cash withdrawals. Often, the cash he managed to set aside in the back of a closet or deposited into a relative’s bank account is very little because he had very little opportunity to divert funds..

2. Did he take money from brokerage accounts, lines of credit, or cash advances on credit cards?

If so, those withdrawals will appear on the statements for those accounts, so go through those account statements carefully to see if there are funds that have gone missing.

3. Did he receive expense reimbursements?

If so, go through account statements to see if those reimbursements are all accounted for. Don’t forget medical reimbursements that he might have received as well. Some employees delay submitting expense reports to their employer or medical reimbursement forms so that they will receive reimbursements after separation . Keep a clear head as you are going through the records  – you are looking for what isn’t there, and that’s often difficult to see.

4. Did he delay income until after the divorce?

He might have made a deal with his employer to delay bonuses or raises until after the divorce, to avoid splitting the windfall with you. Or perhaps he gets payments in cash that he pockets and doesn’t report on the tax return. Consider what he spends each month – haircuts, meals out, walking-around money. If those lifestyle costs don’t appear on credit card or bank statements, they must have been paid in cash. Figure out how much he spends, and that’s how much additional income he earns.

5. Do you know the source of funds for all custodial accounts set up in the names of children?

If accounts were set up and funded not long before the divorce began, the parent making the contribution may be planning to remove the funds once the divorce is over. Even if the account has been in existence for a while, frequent additions and withdrawals over the years can indicate it is regarded as a personal piggybank by the custodian rather than truly the children’s money.

6. Do you owe money to Uncle Harry and you don’t know why?

When it comes time to divorce, debts owed to friends or family members tend to surface. If there is repayment of a phony debt to a friend or family member, there may be a pre-arrangement that the friend will hold the money until after the divorce. Establish the purpose of the loan and what happened to the funds supposedly borrowed, to determine if it is a legitimate debt.

7. Has his business begun losing money?

He might be reducing income by delaying sending out billings and invoices until after the divorce. He might be paying a girlfriend or relative for services never rendered. Or perhaps he is recording expenses paid to nonexistent employees or service providers but the checks are never cashed. The checks likely will be voided after divorce, but meanwhile they appear to reduce income available for support.

8. Has he been investing in antiques, artwork or hobby equipment that may be overlooked and undervalued?

Look for lush furnishings in the office, or artwork on the walls.  It is not uncommon to find paintings stashed behind doors and in storage, all paid for with marital funds, or find there were purchases of gems, coins and other investments through business or personal accounts, with the assets nowhere in sight.



  1. Please help my husband is a pilot… together we have 3 children. I have to ask him for $. He gives me $400.00 a month. I know how stupid IAM

  2. I am in the same situation.

  3. What if he started a business after the marriage and I work part time for him plus have a full time job. I work 6 days a week. He sits around and lets everyone else work. He doesn’t have much money in his personal account or in the business account. We don’t have joint accounts at all. I owned the house 4 year before he came into the picture. We’ve been married 11 years. He hasn’t helped pay any household bills or for food in years. If anything is done around house I pay for materials and most of the time for the labor. Sometimes he does the labor or has his guys to did. I keep track and deduct from his rent that he is suppose to pay. He gets paid under the table sometimes which at times is a lot, but he holds the cash. Hides it in his truck. He spends money on booze, golf, fishing, hunting, going on vacations along and playing cards till 12 am. Feeling like I’m being used. If I ask for a divorce I lose part time job which helps pay the bills. My full time job only pays the mortgage, insurance and car payment. Don’t want to sell my house because rent here is higher than mortgage payment. I don’t know what to do at this point. All my money is used to pay basic living expenses. I don’t buy clothes or have a fancy cell phone. Not sure what to do. I have money that I saved over the years, but it’s not much. My Mom left me some money too, but afraid he can get it if we split. I don’t think I should have to give him 1/2 of my money since he has blown all of his. Don’t know what to do. Any advise would be great. Thanks, Living in NY

  4. BaggyBoo,

    I suggest setting some strong boundaries with your husband. Until you do that, he has no reason to change his behavior. When you advocate for yourself, he will respond.

    Start by hiring a therapist or coach to support you. If you think you can’t afford it, think about what being in this situation is really costing you on all levels. It will also help you decide if you want to pursue divorce.

    Additionally, consult a divorce attorney or two (consults are usually free) and get some legal advice so you have an understanding of the ramifications of divorce. Without that, you don’t actually have any idea of how it can all work out. Knowledge is power.

    You’ve been paying all these bills all this time so trust yourself to know that if you do file for divorce, you can find another part time job or a way to support yourself.

    In my personal (and professional experience as a coach), the best thing you can do doesn’t have anything to do with him. It has everything to do with finding and learning how to use your personal power to make your life what you want it to be. You’ve so got this.


  5. Katherine, Amber and Daisy,

    Beating yourselves up for being in your situation is only going to keep you in your situation. Consult a family law attorney to talk about having your child support and/or alimony modified.

    The court system isn’t always fair though, so regardless of what happens there, open up to the possibility that you can support yourself and your kids. It might not be right now today, but you can put yourselves in the driver’s seat so down the road you’re doing work you love and being paid well to do it. Focus on what you can do cuz there’s so much more than you may realize.

  6. Has anyone used services like Your Collection Sollution, Inc. or to locate your spouse hidden assets? If so, can you please share your experience with these companies. I suspect that my husband has been stashing cash.

  7. Hi, I have been divorced since 2008 and am now becoming aware that my ex. stashed cash and did not declare it in the financial settlement. He was/is very clever and very controlling and kept everything hidden from me. Can I do anything about it now? Please help me. 12/08/’14

  8. Help. Married 32 years. I stayed at home raising four children. I had an opportunity for a great career but my husband moved us all over the country (each move was totaled to 18 times). I became depressed and unable to maintain any long term friendships or establish a home long enough to finish my degree. He lost his job so I had to leave school (went at age 30 with four children eight and under). Worked at home teaching viiolon or daycare because my husband kept us in debt. Each time he consolidated debts only to get more debts, only to consolidate again and again. His last two were by his 80 year old dad 27,000.00 in 2009 to 2013 where he took out 30,000.00 out of 401k. He is now 55and I turn fifty next month. He has put us through bankruptcy and a recent foreclosure. He has taken out loans without my knowledge as well as insisting where we live, what cars we buy, and he also went on temporary assignments during the marriage totalling about six years of being gone. I now reside in WA state. I am divorcing with no money or career. Help?

  9. Hi,
    I am a 38 year old, mother of two boys, married for 15+ years, never worked and I want to file for a divorce. When we divorce everything will be split into half between us. My question is I don’t have any work experience am I still eligible for spousal support after the divorces do for how long? Please help.

  10. I've had it says:

    Hi. I’m a 39yr old mother of two boys 9 & 4. I’ve been married for 15 yrs and have been a stay-at-home mom for close to 5 yrs now. My husband wants a divorce. He wants me out of the house and says he is not leaving the house. He says that the kids are staying with him because I can not financially support the kids. I have no job. I need advice. What are my rights (I reside in the state of Ga.)?

  11. My friend married for 20 years. Her husband was her college classmate. The couple, both 49 years old, came from another country and have been living in NJ for ten years. In the past ten years, she worked as a housekeeper to support him. The husband filed for divorce after he got his PHD degree and a decent job. His new job offers him base salary more than 120,000/year.
    She can collect alimony and children support, no doubt.

    My question:

    Can she collect his SSN benefit after she reached her full retire age?

    The husband worked as a TA (teacher assistant), RA (research assistant) in past ten years . It means that he did not earn 40 credits for their SSN benefit before the divorce. He start to earn the SSN credit from now on.—after the divorce.(his base salary more than 120,000/year)

    how do they calculate her SSN benefit for the wife? 120,000/year salary happened after the divorce.
    when we calculate the SSN benefit, 120,000/year salary works for the wife or not?

    • I got it…

      Unlike other pensions, the social security benefits you receive will be based on his entire earnings record, not just his earnings during the time you were married.

    • Since they were married for more that 10 years, she can collect divorced spouse benefits based on his social security earnings record once they are both of retirement age. His social security earnings record covers his entire working life, not just the years they were married.

  12. Viivienne says:

    Married in California for 23 years, 3 children. Homemaker all their lives. Wedding officiant did not file certificate with court. I didn’t change my last name. My name is on the house we live in and we have always filed taxes “Married Jointly” and have always resided together. Husband very financially controlling. I have access to NO funds. I know I must consult with an attorney. Would I have trouble getting his social security?

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