You and your spouse decide to get divorced. You know that assets should get divided between the two of you, but you worry that your spouse may try to hide them from you. Can you find them? What do you need to do to make sure you really get a fair share?
One great place to begin is by looking at the tax returns for the last few years. They should accurately reflect what your spouse earned, what you have in investments and things of this nature. No matter what your spouse tells you, the tax returns tell the real story.
For instance, perhaps your spouse used to make $100,000 per year. Two years ago, while they were starting to think about divorce, your spouse got a raise to $150,000 per year. They didn't tell you and started putting the $50,000 into a separate bank account. Even if your main accounts never changed, the tax returns should have.
Naturally, it can also help to go through those bank statements. Everything is electronic these days, so it's easy to find. You may discover withdrawals you never knew about, indicating that money was being stashed away or assets were being purchased behind your back.
Finally, you could look at any "gifts" or "loans" to your spouse's friends. People sometimes do this as a way to put assets aside, only to get them back after the divorce.
The key is simply to dig a bit deeper into your family finances, especially if you've been rather hands-off about money in the past. If you do think your spouse is hiding assets, make sure you know what legal options you have.