Where to Search for Hidden Assets During Divorce

QuestionMy husband just told me he wants a divorce, and he says he’s beeSearch for Hidden Assetsn thinking about it for quite a while. I’m afraid that he’s taken steps to hide money so that I won’t receive a fair share of our property.

AnswerIt’s smart of your to be suspicious. Although by and large people are pretty honest while going through divorce, too many women trust their husbands when they shouldn’t. Looking for hidden assets is part of my work as a forensic accountant. Here are some of the places your spouse may have hidden assets.

  • Antiques, artwork or hobby equipment that is overlooked and undervalued. Look for lush furnishings in his office.
  • Collusion with his employer to delay payment of bonuses, stock options or raises until after the divorce.
  • Income, often cash, that is unreported on tax returns and financial statements. You life-style costs during marriage probably exceeded reported income, so document your cash expenditures.
  • A custodial account set up in the name of a child, using the child’s social security number.
  • Debt repayment of a phony debt to a friend or family member, with the pre-arrangement that the friend will hold the money until after the divorce, then give it to your husband.
  • Salary paid to a nonexistent employee from your husband’s business. The checks will be voided after divorce.
  • Money paid from the business to someone close, such as father or girlfriend, for business services not rendered. The money will no doubt be given back to your spouse after the divorce is final.
  • Delay in signing long-term business contracts until after the divorce.
  • Expenses paid for a girlfriend, such as gifts, travel, jewelry, rent or college tuition.
  • Investment in municipal bonds or Series EE Savings Bonds for which no interest is reported on tax returns.


  1. Sunshine Irwin says:

    This is a great article, I recently went through a divorce and needed to find my husband’s hidden assets and I came across this website called Docusearch.com. They had this article on hidden assets that really helped me as well. http://www.docusearch.com/category/hidden-assets

  2. Sunshine Irwin says:

    My husband did the same thing, I knew he had money hidden. I was a working mother with three kids and did not have to time to look for the money, nor did I even know where to look. I spoke with my lawyer and he told me I should look at a private investigator I found Docusearch http://www.docusearch.com/category/hidden-assets. They were amazing and were able to help!

    • Teresa Coriell says:


      Did Docusearch help you directly or was it their article that helped?
      If they directly what were they able to uncover for you?

  3. Frances says:

    First off none of these web sites can actually locate bank accounts for you.
    These are all scams, because the simple fact is that it is illegal to conduct bank account searches.

    It is law and if they conduct an illegal search you the client can and will get in trouble.
    Bank searches conducted illegally cannot be submitted to court because it would reveal that you engaged in illegal actives..

    Do not waste your money.. Just pay for a forensic account so it can be executed via the courts in a legal fashion..

    Read the law… http://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/why-it-is-critical-to-conduct-asset-sear-86954/

  4. Frances,

    Your information is completely wrong. It appears that you did not do your research before publishing this post. All you did was simply re-post an advertorial for a database company who lack the skills, experience, knowledge and license to conduct legal bank searches. As a licensed private investigator, I can tell you that bank account searches CAN be performed legally. The “Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999 did not outlaw bank account searches, rather the means that most investigators performed them, ie pre-texting banks posing as the customer. There are other LEGAL methods capable private investigators employ to secure this valuable information. The licensed investigators mentioned in the first post (docusearch.com) use legal methods to obtain bank account records and these records may be used in court.

    • Hello,
      I just had a question my mother is sick and her boyfriend has basically cut off all contact with her from the family. We’re concerned that he’s talked her into making out a will and hiding assets. We don’t have the money to hire anyone to look for the paperwork or the accounts is there anything we can do ourselves. We know that if we leave this until after she passes he’ll get everything and that’s not fair to the grandkids. And since he has kept her from getting medical help as well there’s no proof of her illness so we would have a hard time getting any will over turned.
      Thank You…

  5. What if Husband hides income in foreign account or own foreign property. I have a vague idea of how much he is hiding but no documentary proof. All the properties are in India, and in India there is no concept of marital property and there fore no concept of fair division of property.

    • If your divorce is in the United States the laws of your state will govern, not the laws of India. So if it is marital property in your state, then it is marital property, no matter what Indian law says.

  6. Hello,

    I need an advice for my daughter. She left her abusive husband and now they’re going through a divorce. She has her two little one with her and now living with me. They went through mediation but he doesn’t want agree to anything. He threaten her before she left him, that she won’t get anything out of him. Anyways my daughter found another house online under his name but he later transfer it to someone else. Any suggestion of how we can track the transfer history? He’s basically lying to the court and now taking the divorce to trial. Any suggestion would really appreciated. Thank you

  7. Karla g. says:

    Hi, I’m a immigrant women and I married an American citizen 6 years ago, we have been together for 9 years and have 2 children. I have been physically, mentally and economically abused by him, there had been arrests and restriction orders agains him trough the years also photos of the injuries and my kids are witnesses to the abuse. Also he recently cheated openly for several months and I said opently because he introduced her to his family and friends, so I have begun humiliated in every way possible. I’m scared of filing for divorce because 5 years ago we bought a house with his mother help because my husband’s credit is the worst, so the house was put on his mothers name, but all payments are made by him. We also have a tenant that knows me and him as the only owners however the lease was made with his mothers name on it. I’m afraid that if I file for divorce neither me or my kids won’t receive what by right belongs to us. He also overly spend money from a small family bussines in his afair. Please help I can’t afford a lawyer due to my dependency to him because he prohibits me from working. If you could be so kind to provide me with advice I will really appreciated. Thank you so much !!!!

  8. After my devorce now he has over two million dollars i don’t have five thoundsand5,000 up front i please need help till i can give back & more!!!!

  9. I was naive .is it late to amend divorce after 9 years if fraud was involved.
    951 -313-4426

    • It depends on the laws of your state. In most states, you can open a case up if an asset was omitted from the settlement. There may be other ways to do it as well — consult with an attorney in your area to find out.

  10. I want to do the research myself (as I have the time) to find if he has purchased any property without my knowledge. I also believe he has hidden money, bank and brokerage accounts. Are only licensed investigators allowed to search? If I knew how i’d be willing to do the leg work? Any suggestions? Thank-you in advance for your reply.

  11. If a suspected family member has commited Identity Theft and are hiding an IRA Account and other securities that they have taken from their father’s brokerage account., is there a way to run a check in your own name to see if there is bank accounts or brokerage accts that might be in your name? Or do we have to write a letter to each brokerage company and banks to check to see if there are any listings?

    Thank you in advance for your assistance.

  12. I supported my wife threw ever decision she ever made from opening a store to school and quitting good paying jobs. I had complete trust in her to take care of bills etc. I agreed to take one hundred a week for all my needs threw the week . I found out she was also taking a hundred and putting it in a secret bank account and using our joint account for everything else she needed she has transferred money into my kids savings and her dads accounts. I guess my question would be is this illegal, embezzlement, hiding assets and if she can get away with it I was the soul provider throughout the marriage but she demands more. Won’t agree to any divorce proposal I have offered . I just don’t know what she could be after any help would be great

  13. My husband had seen an attorney a year ago. He bragged to someone( I overheard his phone conversation) that the attorney told him to start taking withdrawals from his separate checking account and put it in family member names then , if divorce happens, claim a gambling problem. I found $50,000 cash he had withdrawn over one year. He has a very sneaky attorney with a reputation for lying and underhanded tactics. First, can he get by with the hidden money? Second, what can be done about this unethical attorney?

  14. Ginita, my sister is going through a divorce with a deadbeat dad. She’s going to court soon to get a final judgment on child support in arrears. Her ex-husband, while still living with her years ago, stashed away a lot of cash in safety deposit box. Furthermore, he managed to get his employer to pay him in cash. In short, there are no bank accounts, but there is cash and it has been hidden. What would you advise my sister to do so that she can help the attorneys win her case? As I see it, she could win a judgment but never see a dime. to receive the money that she is owed, and to receive continued child support payments for the next year or two, the court would have to to receive the money that she is owed, and to receive continued child support payments for the next year or two, the court would have to garnish the money in fact sieze it from wherever it has been hidden. Not to be redundant, but that action could not take place because the money is all in cash.

    • If he is employed, then his wages could be garnished, even if he is normally paid in cash. She could get an order to open up the safe deposit box and her attorney can put whatever funds are found into a client trust account.

  15. My husband has cash in bank accounts can he transfer to another name and then file for divorce…can I trace the money after divorce… Also, he buys diamonds and hide can he later claim that he has bought it for me

    • If he has signing authority on the bank accounts, then he can write checks and transfer funds.
      I don’t know the laws of your state, but they likely provide that he can file for divorce if he has been a resident of the state for 6 months.
      Tracing funds after the divorce is final will do you no good — you need to trace it before it is final so that you can be sure that you get your fair share of the funds, no matter where he has transferred them.
      Of course he can claim that he bought diamonds for you — but if you didn’t receive them, I don’t know how he can prove that isn’t a lie.

  16. Hi. Just need somene direction. My sister after 2630 years of being with her husband had filed for divorce. She is tired of his cheating ways and disappearing money. She is a cancer and RA survivor and I worry about her. Her husband makes over $4k net a month in Iowa. He filed a financial deposition that stayed he had no money and then had the nerve to ask if the courts will allow him to buy a new car with my sister’s credit.
    He is outright lying but my sister only had so much energy and money to fight. Is there a way to find out where he is money ? He makes $4k monthly and stay at his mom’sThus far the courts said because he had nothing he can’t support her. His made up expenses exceed his income. Hasn’t paid his portion of the mortgage in a year. What can she do before the stress makes her ?

    • She should talk to her attorney ASAP about support. If he has income and she does not, in most states he would owe support. I’m not sure why, with $4,000 a month of wages, he can say he has no income, but I’m not an attorney and I’m not familiar with the laws of your state. Her attorney is both, and that’s who she should consult to get advice.

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