Six Places to Look for Hidden Assets During Divorce

Hidden AssetsWhen 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.


61 thoughts on “Six Places to Look for Hidden Assets During Divorce”

  1. My husband of 10 years is asking for a divorce. I have been living in a situation of financial abuse the entire time. I have no access to any of our financial information. No joint accounts, everything in his name, all documentation is paperless and goes to his email. I work part time and earn a miniscule amount. Could you point me to any resources that may help me prepare for what is to come? We have one young child and I want to ensure that I am able to give him my best. The articles I’m finding are geared toward people who have access to all of this information, and not for us women who are sitting in the dark. Thank you!

    1. Go to and click on “Find a Divorce Workshop Near Me.” You’ll find them on-line and in person, depending on your preference. At those workshops you can ask questions of divorce professionals, who will be able to guide you on what you can do in your location to get the information you need to go through this.

  2. Hello, My husband destroyed our 25 year marriage, engaging in a telephone/email romance for several months.He one day told me ‘IVE MET SOMEONE ELSE, AND DON’T WANT YOU AS MY WIFE ANYMORE AND IVE BEEN PRETENDING TO LOVE YOU FOR SEVERAL YEARS” I took a look at the recent (last three years)
    spending spree total is $291,000.00 on cars, fences on vacation home(island of Molokai Hi), second garage on vacation home, and
    push for the cash pay off to get the debt off the vacation home 84,000.00 specifically, then 31 days later asked for a divorce. Would this qualify as the Dissipation Filing During Divorce? He blocked my visiting the vacation home for 6 month, arguing on the phone, stay in our primary home in California.

    Another suspicious activity was his lying about putting me on the deed to a house for 5 years(first 5 years)
    so he could keep the equity gained. I payed mortgage payments for those five years. Since our money was co mingled to make payments, can i seek reimbursement of my portion of mortgage payments?

    1. I’m sorry, but I don’t know what dissipation filing during divorce is, so I cannot tell you if it qualifies for that, or what that gets you if it does qualify. In some states such as California, money earned during the marriage that was used to make principal payments on separate property real estate creates as community property claim against that property.

  3. Colorado Common Law married for over 10 yrs now. He has several bank accounts, financial advisors, investments, 401k ,30+yr retired military that his first wife, says she gets, plus, is still getting spousal support and he pays for two of her life ins policies(how would I get a copy of their divorce decree to find out what the court ordered in regards to length of maintenance payments?). I am on medicaid. I get no money from him to pay my bills, he’s filed me as a dependent on his tax returns until this year. I have not worked consistently throughout our marriage, but, every penny that I made, went into the house-which is in his name-and has had secret loans taken out on it, since the house value went up 250k since I moved in. I have no access to checking, savings, or credit, and Ill soon be 53yrs old,. I did not marry him for his money. However, this financial/emotional/abuse, that he’s now accustomed to perpetrating, has me wondering where I will be if he suddenly passes away. Or, if I go through with a divorce, and try to rebuild my life from where I left it when I met him? Isnt claiming your wife a dependent on your taxes, to save your assets, something like tax fraud? Ive never signed a tax document previous to this year, never received any monies from the returns he got, and even the stimulus check this year, was direct deposited into one of his bank accounts. Which I had to fight tooth and nail with him, to get him to say that I DID receive a stimulus check. I’ve had enough of the lies and secrets, and control freakish behaviors from him!! He’s treated me like a sub human personal slave for a decade and I am unable to sort out the financial stuff. I am glad I found this website. I may be old, but, Im not incapable of learning about retirement, insurance, spousal benefits, etc.. sign me up for all the classes, please. I need to figure out how to maneuver my way into existence again. what kind of an attorney should I be consulting?

    1. If you want to see his divorce agreement, you will need to ask him for a copy of it. if he doesn’t have a copy, he probably can get one from the county records clerk where he got his divorce. But I’m not sure why you need it. If he has assets in his name, then his ex wasn’t entitled to and didn’t get those assets. She may have a portion of the military retirement put into her name when they divorced if she was awarded a portion of it.

      If you are saying he files his tax return as single, though you are common law married, then apparently you and he disagree on whether you are married or not, and that will need to be resolved if you want to get anything as his wife (or widow, if he should die).

  4. that the ONLY advice you give? That’s not really beneficial, nor the reason individuals use these types of sites. I mean its probably always the truth when boils down to it, but seems you could off these desperate victim’s more than seek an attorney!
    Makes me not want to waste my time here and I’m in DESPERATE need of, GUIDANCE , help of an urgent & living nightmare situation & what seems hard believe. but if not directed to someone with some power & clout my children & I could hv our lives destroyed forever! Its already been overt a yr long unbelievable judicial nightmare & kids & I need advocate desperately ASAP to ti help intercede ,& help protect my kids & myself! Time is running out!

    1. People sometimes turn to this site for legal advice, but we cannot make up information about their legal rights when in reality we have no idea – we are not attorneys and and we don’t know the law of their state or how those laws would apply to their situation. We could say, “Sorry, we can’t answer your questions”, but it seems more helpful to steer them to knowledgable sources who can, which generally are attorneys in their area. If they are looking for someone to agree with them and tell them whatever they would like to hear, they can turn to their friends and family. This site is to disseminate knowledge, not worthless pap.
      That said, I do not know the resources available to you in your locale to find an advocate to intercede. You can consult with someone who knows the law to review what has happened in your matter and see if they see something that has been overlooked. It is possible that the local bar association or law school (if you have one) can provide lower-cost services if you cannot afford a legal consultation.

  5. That’s weird. My husband is a retired pilot, and same thing — I’ve been living on a budget for 20 years. And then he decided he wants a divorce. He’s in charge of all the money and I’m 60 years old now. I’m pretty lost also and having to pay a financial advisor, but not really getting much help.

    1. If you are paying a financial advisor and not getting much help, it sounds as though it is time to quit paying that advisor and find someone who can help you. Tell the advisor specifically what you want help on, and if they can’t provide that help, ask them for a referral to someone who can. You can also look for a Certified Divorce Financial Analysis (CDFA) in your area at

  6. I need help. I have left my husband. I do not have access to his checking account, his 401k or his pension account. I do know that for the last three years he has been taking all of the money that he receives from his HSA and pocketing instead of using it for paying bills. Also, the in 2015 – 2017 he would recieve checks from the administrator of his medical insurance and pocket those checks instead of paying the medical bills. Now I am stuck with all of the bills that were in my name or my childs name because he did not pay them. I have no proof of this because he destroyed everything and anything he could get his hands on. I also know that he took out a loan against his 401k with the “intention to pay medical bills” as a medical hardship. He never paid those bills. He admitted to me that he has a gambling problem and for the last several years has been using payday loans to live off of. I wondered where his money went to every week, but I never knew. What can I do? Where do I go and how do I start??

    1. If I were you I’d consult with an attorney who knows the laws of your state. In most states, the courts don’t deal with issues of how money was handled during the marriage — they are concerned with dividing up what exists now. But talk to an attorney about whether you could get more of what there is to compensate you for the funds he gambled away.

  7. Does anyone know if I can reopen our divorce since I found out 14 years later that he received a huge amount of $ after the sale of the company he worked for.
    He knew the sale was coming, along with his bonuses. Any recourse?

  8. My husband started his business in 2009 using our house for equity loan. I worked for him for 3 yrs.
    Its a construction co. so some labor but mostly keeping the books. I am currently on unemployment since he stopped giving me the info. I needed to do the bookkeeping properly. He changed passwords to his bank accounts.
    we never had a joint account. everything is in his company’s name.
    I think He’s hiding money the company made. If we divorce after 16 years of being married will I be entitled to half of all the assets including the company possessions and all the tools and misc. crap hes filled the garage with? We have 2 children 13yrs.old. My name is on the deed to our house but not the mortgages.
    Over the years I’ve worked in low paying factories so we could have health insurance for our family.
    The past 3 yrs. I’ve been paying ins. premiums( through the ACA) with credit cards. He used to give me money to pay them down but has stopped. I believe hes gambling it all and worse.
    now I’m in 20,000 $cc debt. i have consulted a lawyer I do not have 5,000$ He says he’ll give me a divorce if we sit down in front of the same lawyer and do it amicably. But i feel Id get the short end of the stick since it’ll most likely be his lawyer. What should I do? the way he runs his business right now it looks like his company has no money. But I know in the past two year 2.5 millions dollars ran through that co. We live in CT.

  9. Should I remind my husband we are separating in Oct 2016 so he ll stop talking about our future? Why do you think he is acting like he doesn t remember our talk?

    1. He either doesn’t remember your talk, doesn’t think that you are serious, or thinks a lot can change between now and October, which it can. Just remember that divorce isn’t a solution, it’s a whole nother set of problems.


  10. My husband has his own company. Does he legally have to show me the finances of his company? Not just tax returns.

  11. Married for 10 years for the last year my husband and I have been seperated…..he moved back to the Country where he’s from and said he’s not coming back….we have no kids and he will not give me an address to where he’s at. Is there anything I can do to end this marriage legally without him?? Thank you for any advice.

  12. In 2008 I learned that my husband was having affairs with men. He refused to leave the home that was in my name so I did. After going to court his attorneys found out that I did not simply abandon him for no reason. His attorneys recommended that he pay everything except my credit cards. I have made every effort over the last several years to keep our relationship friendly. I signed with him to buy a home. He just sold that home and I signed the mortgage for the new house with him. He paid the bills (as I am disabled) for a while but has not been doing so for some time. I learned last week that his now girlfriend, a 31 yo black girl,has moved into the home that we just closed on. He will be 65 in February. I need the insurance through his employer or else I would have proceeded with the divorce. I have serious medical problems stemming from Systemic Lupus.

    If we divorce is their any chance I can remain on the insurance through his employer. I have a feeling she is going to get pregnant and then the assets that we share may well have been placed in jeopardy.

    I would appreciate your input.


  13. My husband receives SSI only and has money hidden somewhere from a previous settlement. We’ve been married for 36 years, most of which has been mentally and emotionally abusive. He told me he doesn’t want me and has made it absolutely clear he doesn’t. I’ve wanted a divorce for years, he wants a separation. Can I divorce him and get part of his SSI disability to help me? I’m unemployed and have no college experience and little work history. I lived a depressed, mentally and emotionally abused life for years. I’m trying to break free, it has affected my health.

  14. I am gearing up to divorce after 30 years, live in Connecticut, 58 years old. Two grown daughters are no longer at home. I do work full time, house we own is under my name (he has his own business, but also a regular job). He also owns property in VT and has two building lots left on a condo development he is building on. I am not interested in taking the house (he built it and enjoys it, I do not), or his property. I do want to buy a condo and to keep my 401k. House is worth 500,000 with a home equity loan on it of 60,000 (no other mortgage). In our area a decent condo is available for 139,000, I do have money for down payment 20%. Should I wait to buy until after the divorce (afraid I may miss a good deal if I wait too long)?

  15. It looks like I will be getting divorced after 18 years of marriage. We reside in California. In addition to our home, we own two other homes, all in California. Our main home is held in our family trust, of which we are both executors. He recently made a comment that the house was his and not ours. Is this possible.
    A second home is a rental property. We purchased the house with money from my father-in-law’s trust. The trust is on the title of the house. I believe this house will be his in the divorce. We bought another home as a vacation home for our family. He told me this same trust was on the title of this house as well. My husband’s name is on the trust. We used funds from the house to buy the house, but my spouse’s name is on the title, not his father’s trust. Since this house was purchased last year, am I entitled to half?
    Thank you

  16. I have retained a quadro attorney to help get my share of my ex’s retirement benefits. We were married 23 years and just divorced last June. I could only get my hands on one document regarding my ex’s pension. He hid and locked up all of his documents. I think he has more pension/401K plans. My attorney said the only way he can help me find out if there’s more would be to subpoena my ex’s former employer (he was let go 2 months before we separated). Is there another way to find out if there’s other retirement plans?

  17. My husband makes 497,000 dollars a year from his business. I see 48,
    .000 of this. The judge will not raise my maintenance right now. I have had to put several items on my credit card due to not having enough money. I have no more credit to use. I cannot get the judge to make my soon to be ex pay on any of this – home repairs, car repairs, and medical and medications He was ordered to pay all these things.
    What can I do if anything?

  18. I believe that my soon to be ex-husband has a significant amount of cash hidden in his attic at his new home which is only in his name. Any way to retrieve that cash legally?

  19. My husband has a lot of cash hidden in his closet in his new home. Is there any way I can get to that money?

  20. 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?

  21. 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?

    1. 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.

    2. 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.

  22. 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.)?

      1. Don’t let that intimidate you. You can and will make it on your own while being a mother. Reach out and see if there is a women’s center in your area. These kind of places offer free counseling and advice. Chin up! Praying for you! In a similar situation where he emotionally beats you down to thinking you can’t do it. You WILL suprise yourself! my D-day is July 1st 2015 started the processs in Dec. I know what you are going thru!

  23. 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.

  24. 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?

  25. 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

  26. 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.

  27. 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.

  28. 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.


  29. 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

    1. Wow, y ou need a therapist,remind me again why you wanted this bum,you mam are being used,when you file for divorce demand he pay you half your money back,you won’t need a part time job,an you certainly don’t need a worthless guy that can’t help improve your existence

  30. 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

    1. Wow-I am with the same type of man: pilot, and gives me limited money monthly. Amber, what has happened, your post is from almost 5 years ago. Mine just filed for divorce. We have two kids and I’ve been a atay at home mom for 12 years.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Scroll to Top