Regardless of how long you have been married, getting divorced is often a difficult prospect. Not only do you have to tell everyone that your marriage failed, you also have to handle the details of untangling your life from your spouse's. This can be a daunting prospect, and some people rush through it just to get it over with.
However, speed is not necessarily your friend in the situation. Accuracy and attention to detail are the best tools you have to help ensure the outcome of your divorce is fair to everyone. You need to keep a watchful eye out for any potential signs that your ex might be hiding assets to skew the divorce in his or her favor.
You can't get ahold of financial documents, like tax returns
If your ex won't share detailed financial records with you, there is probably a reason. Typically speaking, tax returns will show all income earned, even money you did not know about. It is possible that your spouse was splitting income between accounts, meaning that you never knew the full extent of the household income.
It is also possible that your spouse diverted funds from the marital account into a private account in order to hide that money from you. Unless you have a prenuptial agreement on record of that allows your spouse to maintain separate accounts with money from during your marriage, those funds belong to both of you. They should be included in the inventory of all your possessions and assets.
Attempting to hide or withhold financial records is a indicator that there could be significant hidden assets in your divorce.
Your spouse has a collection that he or she will not part with
Everyone has a hobby, but some are definitely more expensive than others. If your spouse has an expensive hobby, pastime or collection, that could be a place where you may find a significant financial value.
Some people have collections and hobbies worth tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. Fine art, jewelry, sports memorabilia and collectible cars are all examples of highly valuable hobby items. The good news is that even if you don't want anything to do with your ex's collectibles, if you itemize them and properly value them, you will receive adequate assets to offset the value of that collection.
Anything purchased or acquired during your marriage is likely marital property. That is particularly true for items purchased with income made during your marriage. The best way to ensure you are getting a fair split in your divorce is to look for any and all valuable assets and report them. If you have trouble locating them, it may be time to consider working with a forensic accountant.