What to Do If You Find Out that Your Husband Hid Money From You During Your Divorce

SecretiveMany divorces are downright nasty, especially if a lot of money is on the line. A high-earning spouse isn’t exactly happy to hand over his assets to his soon-to-be ex, especially if they live in a Community Property State that requires couples to equally split their marital estate.

Hiding assets during a divorce is more common than you might think, and we’ve written a few articles here at WIFE about how to

Hiding assets during a divorce is more common than you might think, and we’ve written a few articles here at WIFE about how to find out if your spouse is hiding assets. What happens if you discover that your ex hid assets after your divorce is complete? Can you still make your ex pay up?

Try to Find Hidden Assets During the Divorce Process

It will be much easier to search for hidden assets during the divorce process itself rather than going back after the fact to try to recoup what you deserve. If you even suspect the possibility that your spouse could be hiding assets during your divorce, then start searching.

It might be a good idea to hire a private investigator and/or a forensic accountant to look for anomalies in your husband’s declarations and financial paperwork. Your divorce attorney can also petition the court to compel your spouse to hand over documents, such as retirement statements and pay stubs.

What to Do If You Discover Hidden Assets After a Divorce

Of course, you can’t always catch your husband in the act of hiding assets. Sometimes the truth only comes out later. Maybe a mutual friend mentions a second home your ex owns that you never knew about, or you find out your ex-husband was making a much higher salary than he claimed. In an article for MarketWatch, writer Quentin Fottrell mentions the story of a California woman who won $1.3 million in the lottery in 1996.

She filed for divorce 11 days later and conveniently forgot to mention the huge windfall to her spouse! Unsurprisingly, her ex-husband found out about it two years later, and he wasn’t happy about it. The judge wasn’t either, and awarded the entire sum to the husband.

If you discover that your husband hid assets during your divorce, your legal options may depend on which state you live in. If you live in a Community Property State (Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, Wisconsin, and possibly Alaska) you can file a motion with the court where your divorce was finalized to reopen the case. Since you were entitled to half of your spouse’s community property at the time of your divorce, you may be able to amend your divorce agreement to take into account the newly discovered assets or income.

It is more difficult to reopen a divorce case if you did not divorce in a Community Property State, but that doesn’t mean you are out of options. You can always sue your spouse for monetary damages in civil court.

Will Your Spouse Be Punished for Hiding Assets?

Judges have a lot of leeway when it comes to determining a punishment for spouses who hide assets. It may be that if you can compellingly prove that your spouse hid assets, the judge will simply order your spouse to give your half of the value of those assets to you. This is what you would have gotten if the assets had been known during the time of the divorce. Of course, some judges like to add a little sting to their rulings against shady spouses.

A judge can make your husband hand over the entire value of the hidden assets to you as a punishment, such as what happened in the case of the woman who hid her lottery winnings from her spouse. If she had been upfront about her windfall, she would have only had to hand over half of it to her spouse. (One more reason why you should never, ever try to hide assets from your spouse during a divorce!)

In the most serious cases, a spouse can even be arrested for hiding assets, though this is usually a last-resort scenario when an ex-spouse still refuses to pay up even after it’s been proven that he hid assets.

If you can, try to find evidence of hidden assets during your divorce, but even if you find out that your ex lied to you years after the fact, you can still go after the money you are owed. Don’t let your ex keep money that you are entitled to!

Want to know what other curveballs you can expect during a divorce? Learn from professionals who deal with divorces every day at your local Second Saturday Divorce Workshop.

58 thoughts on “What to Do If You Find Out that Your Husband Hid Money From You During Your Divorce”

  1. Pingback: What to Do If You Find Out that Your Husband Hid Money From You During Your Divorce | SortStyle.com

    1. Doreen Thukhutha

      I need help . My spouse told me I won’t get anything from him , he won’t pay me anything. We’re r separate now, he kicked me out of the house. Now I’m scared he’s not saying anything abt divorce. Why if he claims all his pensions without the spouse nowing. I need advice. Pls. My email address is rendanijehova@gmail.com

      1. If you need support and he refuses to give you funds to live on, even though he has cash flow, then you may need to file for support, which means opening a case of some kind, such as divorce or legal separation. If he is withholding accounts from you, then you may need to petition the court for access to those as well. In most states, once a legal matter is opened up the spouse is enjoined from withdrawing or moving funds, but you’ll need to find out how it works in your state from someone who knows the law.

    2. I seriously need advise on this and have so much evidence to prove he lied about our community finances and hid money and left me with over $70k in IRS tax expenses for the money he hid and said we didn’t have. Now he’s living the high life and I am steps away from living on the streets.

        1. omg did he have assets He has our home in a trust he is a federal employee He is a small business owner He has IRA 401 Roth on our taxes I went to the IRS in Springfield and they couldn’t tell me anything in his column he has a master file he is tax exempt I was married for 20 years and together 4 years before that we built our house together we got 1098 we have OMB #I don’t even know what on our Deed it’s like everyone is hides it all and all I’ve gotten is lies this year it was schedule S schedule E tangible property safe harbor I gave all to a attorney I’m disabled what does a person do now I’m renting my transmission went out

          1. If you are filing for divorce, he will need to reveal his assets and they will be divided between you. To find out how the deed is recorded, you can search the county property records online or contact the county clerk’s office for assistance.

        2. I was married 30 years and my ex spouse had an affair the whole time. Not only that but they had a plan, buy, hide & protect. They bought land, houses, ALL over the United States & he has BILLIONS. HE COMMITTED ADULTERY, FRAUD & MANY OTHER CRIMES. They also bought land trust & my life has been a movie, so unreal. He has airplanes & pilot license, but I have God & the law on my side. They have a company called D&B & they have took many peoples money & I intend on getting it back. Greed & selfishness you call it, & it didn’t help that my lawyer was in business with them. Needless to say I lost everything, but I’m going back after 7 years because I have RIGHTS. I live in TN. & I am fighting to get what belongs by law to me. I’m not a person that would take everything from anyone, but after I have worked 2 years seeing what all they have done, they deserve what they get.. If I don’t get Justice here then I will go to the SUPREME COURT.. If we don’t fight for our rights then who will?

  2. Catherine Novobilski

    What legal recourse does a spouse have when the male spouse has taken your name off everything in the state of California and files for divorce a community property state ? How can I receive what is rightfully entitled after 12 years of marriage and another 10 years before marriage plus 2 adult children now?

  3. Harriett Baldwin Kelly

    What can I do if I found out that my divorced spouse hid a pending lawsuit from an personal injury accident that occurred during our marriage, the accident happened in New York in a apartment complex where he still had his apartment, and we also lived in our home in Cincinnati?

  4. I was married over 12 years and got a divorce and it got ugly dot-dot-dot my ex-husband’s retirement 401K was hidden from me and I know it had to do with his twin sister that my ex-sister-in-law and I did not have a good divorce attorney but the judge was on my side during The divorce and kept asking me to fight but I was taking care of my daddy also at the time plus I’m disabled with my lower back and other problems and so was my ex-husband… His attorney walked out and left him in the courtroom .. yes he did not want to defend him anymore! It’s because I went ahead and agreed to give my ex-husband his interest in our home within 30 days and he still was asking for furniture after that and there was no antique table left that he asked for– this made are divorce here and very complicated but anyway I just wanted to ask what to do because my ex husband passed away a week ago and neither one of us have ever remarry and I have been divorced now 7 years. And so has he… Should I try and recover the retirement that was hidden from me? Because I did give him cash that I really did not have and if it had not been for a car accident I was in I would not have had the money and I would have lost my house… I have been so hurt from all this plus I lost my only child with asthma right before all of this… I know that I am able to draw some type of benefits I just don’t know what else to ask for when I do talk to the Social Security Administration… Can someone please tell me what I deserve… Again my husband has passed away and I do hate that but I have really struggled for the last few years and I just pray that I get everything that I deserve because he would have from me ..

    1. If there was a retirement account that wasn’t divided in the divorce, talk to an attorney about whether your case can be opened to divide that overlooked asset, given his recent death. As for social security, once you are 60 or older you are entitled to surviving divorced spouse benefits, reduced because you are collecting before full retirement age.

  5. Hi:

    My husband found out that his ex-wife had hidden more than $100,000 before the divorce after he received a taxes return saying that he owed the IRA $60,000 on tax; so, my husband started processing to sue her and then he changed his mind after the lawyer asked her about the money and she told him she gave it to her sister. He didn’t believe it but didn’t want to do anything further at the time because he loved his son so much and thought that his ex-wife would save the money for the boy, so there was no reason to sue her. They also have an agreement that they will pay for the boy’s expense until he is 25 years old as long as he is a full-time student. The boy lived in Canada with her; we live in California. Since the boy found out that his dad will pay for him until he turns 25 no matter what, he stopped talking to his dad. Now, my husband didn’t know anything about him going to college or not; so, he asked his ex-wife to send him all the bills and he will pay for it. But, his wife refused and asked for more (he already spends more than $20,000 a year). My husband told her that he just sent the money when she sent him the bill; she refused and sued him now.

    My questions are can he still sue her with the money she hid 10 years later after he knew it and is it right to ask for the bills?

    1. He needs to talk to an attorney to see if he can open up the divorce case to divide those omitted funds, or if it is too late to do so. The attorney can also read the divorce agreement and see what it says about the bills.

  6. Hello,
    I went through a divorce 10years ago, I just found that my ex had bought property with another lady . Can I reopen the case? All of this occurred here in the state of California..

  7. What if you found out 2 weeks after signing all divorce papers that your ex and his lawyer were so slick, intelligent, cunning and deceitful in writing up the divorce settlement papers and you spent 8 hours in mediation focusing more on lifetime alimony ( which also I managed to mess that up as well knowing afterwards I could have gotten more money) I was married for 29 years to a middle Eastern man who controlled all the finances. I raised the children as he traveled frequently. I also feel that my lawyer did not go over thoroughly the entire sections in the divorce.. It wasn’t until after that I showed my sister who is an accountant with a large investment group that right away she noticed two words in those papers that changed everything.. “LIMITED ASSETS!”
    He did not put all of his 401 K in there plus a lot more assets that he had.. Oh and btw, 2 years prior to our divorce I found in his briefcase just looking for a stamp that he opened up a checking account in his name only and the address was under his boss’s home address who is also middle eastern and he is also the owner of this multi million dollar aerospace corporation. My ex never bows to anyone but him and he also left his wife after 30 years of marriage and I know he was coached by him and told him what lawyer to hire and what to put in our divorce settlement.. It is now 2 years later. Is there anything I can do about it now?? So sorry for the long message..

    1. I’m sorry this divorce took place in Florida. And also I am not talking just thousands of dollars. That money he put in his boss’s address was over $100,000 and he did not disclose another $700,000 in his 401k, and never disclosed the checking or savings account. I am just as upset with my lawyer at the time as I am with my ex..

      1. Georgina Chavers

        Hi Sharon,

        I feel very strongly about this matter and the need to respond to your questions. I live in CA and my marriage was much shorter although the subject matter is very similar to yours. As long as the law is the same in this area of law as CA, you can absolutely reopen your divorce matter to divide after-discovered assets. In fact I had been divorced for six years before I re-opened mine.

        Unfortunately it has been over two years and my case still sits before the courts, so don’t make the same mistakes I made. As you said not all Attorney’s are the same and your divorce attorney missed a lot of information.

        Before you even start you should gather as much information that can be used against him (evidence), your attorney is not going to do this for you. Did you take a blank check for instance? There’s lots of things online that can help you in this area. Any good attorney will not take your case if it does not sound legitimate and if you don’t have any evidence. You’ll need this to persuade the court to re-open your divorce. It’s one thing knowing your Husband did this, it’s another proving he did. If he and his Boss are good at hiding these things from you and your previous attorney you need to be very thorough and prepared before contacting an attorney. Even gather information on your Husband’s Boss….

        When you look for an Attorney you will still be looking for a family law attorney. Looking for one that has experience in cases like this is key. You ABSOLUTELY need to find someone with experience in the field of hidden (Omitted Assets). I don’t know your Husband’s career but it’s possible that there is tax evasion going on as well. A good Attorney will be able to direct you in the way of necessary specialists.

        Be prepared though it will not be cheap and it will be a fight. Although it will be a huge inconvenience for your ex-Husband and possibly his Boss. I don’t know how it is in Florida but in CA the party with the lower income is entitled to attorney fees. This is something you should check into first and depending on your circumstances have your attorney request some fees up front to get ou started.

        Matter of fact when I reopened mine it was for one company in Florida which multiplied into a global cluster of corporations that had been in the works our whole marriage. This is partly the reason it has taken so long, another is having competent people working for you and finally my ex is fighting me so hard because he knows if he gets caught he has a lot to lose…

        Another lesson I’ve learned is this will consume your time and energy, if you have children beware of that. I really wish you the best of luck, if I can help one person with mine I will feel I’ve made an achievement.

    2. In general, you can reopen a divorce case to deal with any omitted asset that was not addressed or divided. But if you discovered 2 weeks after the divorce was final that the asset wasn’t divided and it is now two years later, that may be a problem. Check with an attorney to see where you stand.

  8. I am in Tennessee. My divorce was 9 years ago. All throughout the divorce, I was told that i had to split everything with him 50/50. For the 9 years that we were married, I made the majority of the money and had received many large gifts from my family, including 14,000 as a downpayment for our house. Throughout the years, I kept asking to get my share of the equity. He would tell me not now because he just paid out a huge amount in house repairs, etc….I was flat broke also after our marriage ended because he would not quit fighting for my money. I evenutally had to get on food stamps to feed my children. Last August, I was finally back on my feet, and he was also, and we had become great friends at this point, and I finally found a house I could buy but needed the money from the house he was living in. Again, he said no. I pulled up the divorce decree to show him that he needs to give me that money..its been 8 years, i think I have been more than accomodating…and have lived in total poverty with my kids….it time…When I pulled up the document, I had to read over 5 times. There was not one mention of me getting anything. I had received 10,500, which was supposed to be a down payment on the equity he owed me, so I could go get an apartent. I have spoken to 18 attorneys who say that its very obvious what he and his attorney did, and I have a great case, but its just too late. And I guess I don’t understand that, because I just found out. I mean, he walked with everything….we are not talking about a lawnmower I didn’t get…I put myself through College and worked my buns off to get the firm I was when I was married and I made great money….(but was fired during the 2008-2009 economic crisis). He refuses to give me any money. I am also sure without a doubt that he did not disclose the total worth of his retirement account, nor other accounts that were in his possession at the time. I can’t live with this…I just cannot live with this result…what can I do? I can’t even get an attorney to try to file suit….Because of what he did, keeping my money from me, keeping me from finding out what he and his attorney had done, I ended up with 2 suicide attempts…going on food stamps was so humiliating and for 8 years of poverty, he refused to give me a dime. …claiming that he was broke…I felt like I had let my children down having to live in poverty like this….Also,, my mother passed away, disinherited my sister and I , and gave millions to her friends…I couldn’t fight because I had no money….he has made me lose so much and he lies and manipulates our children and lets them, and in fact rewards them for disrespecting me….I have to make something happen….I had texted him the night of my 1st suicide attempt and told him I had downed a bottle of pills with a bottle of liquor…and to make the babies understand that they didn’t need a failure in their life…that their dad was doing well and that is what they needed….he has worked for the ambulance service for over 20 years…he was the 1 of 3 people I texted ….he was also the only one who DID NOT CALL 911…come to find out he had taken an insurance policy out on me that would benefit him greatly had my attempt worked…that to me, is so very scary. What can I do?

    1. To my knowledge, one cannot take out a policy on a former spouse unless it is to protect support being paid, so you can talk to an attorney who is familiar with that legal issue to see what you can do to get that policy revoked. As for the other issue, if 18 attorneys say there is nothing you can do, you can talk to another 18, but I’m guessing they will say the same thing.

  9. My husband kicked me out I lies commited perjury lying in the stand. Will judge take this in to consideration since husband made me homeless with no money

  10. I have been divorced almost 5 years. I want to take my ex back for more child support because I believe he wasn’t honest about his income. He and his brother (and retired father) own 3 lumber yards but also have many LLC created. My lawyer did not question his income and I was very naive with everything. I was paying for everything with no help from my parents. I needed the divorce to be over so I could receive child support as I am a school teacher with very limited income. I live in Missouri and am wondering what are my options, if there are any? My income is still limited and I do not have any other assistance with attorneys. I am very worried because of my financial situation I am extremely limited.

  11. My husband his his income since 2010 divorced me without me knowing I haven’t seen our income taxes since 2008 he just remarried after in full yr after divorce but I’ve been homeless since he kicked me out of the home

  12. I live in California and after I was married I found my wife had a bank account with over 200,000 in it. She wanted to convert that money into a business and we did. She took the money she invested and paid herself back by writing checks to herself and her mom but telling me we were broke all the time. A year later we divorced and she is claiming I owe her support because she cant work with our child to take care of saying all the money she put into the business is still outstanding debt. She is lying and I can prove it but she gave some of it to her mom instead of herself. How do i get a court order for my community property

    1. If there were community assets that were overlooked and not divided in your divorce, I think that you can open up the case again for the purpose of dividing those overlooked assets. As to the procedure for how to do that, I don’t know. You can ask the county clerk’s office, or talk to an attorney about how to do that.

  13. I was married in 1979 divorced in 1984 it was a terbble divorce we owned a house we had for 4years I was in a car accident and got 10000 dollars for my pain I was 9months preg I moved out and was letting him buy me out instead his girlfriend moved in my house I couldn’t fight no more he tried to file bankruptcy and get out of paying me child support the judge said he can’t do that the judge told him don’t let the house go into forclouser but he did he didn’t pay the house payment for a year so I lost 4years of equity and my personal injury money of ten thousand dollars I never got I didn’t want or couldn’t fight with him nomore but I think now my kids don’t have nothing to do with me so why not see if I can make him give me my money it’s on the court reporter telling him don’t let it go into forclouser and he did can I fight him now after all these years of my life living in hell as he has bought a new house after that year of letting my house go in to forclouser

    1. If your divorce agreement prescribed consequences for letting the house go into foreclosure, then you can probably go to court and get specific enforcement of those provisions of your divorce agreement. But if not, I’m guessing that something the judge said to him at some point during divorce proceedings are not actionable. But I’m not an attorney and I don’t know the laws of your state and what is possible there.

      1. I think it does the judge told him not to let it go into forclouser rent a room rent the house or sell it to give me my portion of the equity I was letting him buy me out and he never did he lived in it for a year and didn’t pay the mortgage I’m just wonder it’s been a long time and I couldn’t fight nomore with this guy but he did have a girlfriend move into my house I consider her a roommate as she also worked at a good job there was no reason he should of let the house go into fourclourse he did it because I had personal injury money of ten thousand dollars as well as 4years of equity

  14. I divorced two years ago in may when he was 59. There was no money in the bank and we split the 401k. 6 months after the divorce he buys a 250K home, and is traveling all over. He then retires at 8 months out before he can get anything out of retirement without heavy taxing.
    I said all along during my MSA that he was hiding money. I now believe he has a Deferred comp plan with his company. I just found bank statements showing a 400 a week in pay decrease in pay. No bonuses are showing and several large amounts in severance packages that he received are not showing either. I also found out that he sold our old house that he told the court had a mortgage on it but I found out that was a lie.
    How can I find out what he has in his deferred comp plan? I am looking at around 200K not including the other stuff he hid.
    Can these bank statements be used as a way to show the judge that something is not right if they sent them to my lawyer in discovery. I don’t believe my lawyer ever even looked at them.

    My lawyer was awful and so many things were messed up and she missed court dates and filings. I am actively looking for a lawyer to sue her for legal malpractice.

    1. The bank statements showing that the deposit went down by $400 is a clue, but not evidence of another account. If you have pay stubs or other evidence showing money going into a deferred comp plan, that would be evidence that might allow you to open the case again to divide an omitted asset.

  15. I’ve been divorced for almost 5 years and I just found out that my ex-husband Has a pension that he did not disclose. I gave up alimony and paid him $30,000 so that I can keep the house. Can I take him back to court for their pension that he did not disclose?

  16. My Wife is not a US Citizen, but she manages to work using someone else social security where she works. Her boss helped her out like that, so she keeps cash. She has saved up almost $20,000 in a little over a year. She doesn’t touch it at all and she keeps it at her moms house. There are so many reasons why I want to get a divorce. What can I do if technically the checks are under another name, and she doesn’t keep any money in the bank?

  17. The spouse and I decided on a divorce after 6 years. He moved out. He placed the divorce on hold. We were still cordial and dealing with financial matters together as far as bills and mortgage. A week ago, in our joint account a $15,000 loan payment was deposited and withdrawn immediately from the account. He then purchased a new car. Next, financial investment papers with his name only came to my home as well as a newly opened account with his name only. Up until this new discovery we were proceeding amicably I assumed we were on the same page. How should I proceed from here on out?

    1. In some states, debt that’s incurred after separation is the separate debt of the spouse incurring it. In other states it is marital debt no matter when incurred. Talk to an attorney about how this works in your state. And talk to your spouse about the importance of talking about major financial moves before they are made. Apparently you and he were not on the same page about this at all.

  18. Moschar Lawrence

    After I filed for divorce and my ex husband was served, he packed up everything in our home and moved it all to a storage out of state. He also moved to a different state and took assets with him. The state he moved to has land and our house and 3 additional cars and other assets that he is hiding and claiming are his. He continued to withdraw money from his retirement fund after I filed for divorce, he maxed out the health equity card and all of the credit cards and then when his wages were garnished for child support and spousal support he walked away from his 25 year career and amazing benefits because he said he would never pay me a dime. We were married 28 years. I live in a community property state and our other property and assets are in a community property state, I’m not sure if the storage facility he is hiding our stuff in is a community property state though. He is hiding and living on the go in an RV. It is very easy to say a court will make him disclose his assets and divide them fairly and a judge may award me more of these assets I have no way of retrieving because of the way my ex is hiding assets. But the reality of my situation is that he hasn’t paid attention to one court ruling yet and probably won’t ever. What can a judge really do to my ex to show him we mean business and that he needs to stop defying court orders? What is the reality of recovering assets or liquidating those assets when your ex refuses to cooperate, disclose assets, or pay me any money he owes me no matter what a judge says?

    1. A judge may be able to put him into jail, require him to place funds with the court so you can be paid what you are owed, and probably much more. It’s just a guess on my part, I don’t know the laws of your state, but you probably should find out the answers from someone who does.

  19. I just found out my ex had a secret bank account, he never showed me bank statements or anything, when we did the show causes he responded that I absolutely knew about this account. How can i proof that I absolutely had no idea of this account? After he left our home and we had our separation agreement I found a deposit receipt of 2 amounts to an account i was not aware, It was under all his clothes and when he took the clothes did not realize this receipt fell on the floor. I saved this paper and now I am taking him to court for other things but this is coming up.

    1. In most states, you would not have to prove you didn’t know about the account. You would only need to show that the account was not divided as part of your divorce settlement, and so it needs to be divided now. Your attorney or someone familiar with the laws of your state can advise you of how things work there.

  20. Norma Magpantay

    I’ve been divorced for 12 years.I just found out,my ex husband did not disclose his stock market investment.We both live in IL.Can I still reopen the divorce case.

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