How To Prove Assets & Income in a Divorce

By Beverly Bird

It’s surprisingly common for spouses to hide assets or income during a divorce. If someone has less income, this usually means he pays less child support or alimony, and if assets “disappear,” the court can’t divide them between you when your divorce is final. If you suspect your spouse is doing this, you might be able to prove it, but it will take diligent effort.

It’s surprisingly common for spouses to hide assets or income during a divorce. If someone has less income, this usually means he pays less child support or alimony, and if assets “disappear,” the court can’t divide them between you when your divorce is final. If you suspect your spouse is doing this, you might be able to prove it, but it will take diligent effort.

Proving Income

Step 1

Collect your marital monthly bills dating back to when divorce was not yet an issue. Include mortgage, car payments, credit card bills, and utility bills -- everything you can think of. If you don't have these bills on hand, you or your attorney can subpoena the companies for copies after you've filed for divorce.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More

Step 2

Compare the monthly bills against your spouse's claimed income. If you and your spouse regularly serviced $8,000 a month in regular expenses while you were married, and if you earned $2,000 a month, he paid $6,000 a month from his own income. If he claims he only earns $4,000 a month, you can prove he had access to more income, at least during your marriage. The additional $2,000 had to come from somewhere.

Step 3

Repeat the process with your spouse's current monthly bills, if you've separated. If he won't give you copies of his bills voluntarily, you can subpoena the companies. If he claims to earn less than the monthly bills he's servicing, and the accounts are current, something is usually amiss.

Step 4

Contact the IRS. Use Form 4506-T to request copies of your joint tax returns going back several years. You'll want to get these directly from the IRS because your spouse may have altered your own copies after he realized divorce was imminent. If your spouse filed separate married returns, you or your attorney may have to ask the court to require your spouse to sign a release so you can get copies from the IRS.

Step 5

Use the tax returns to identify your spouse's historical income. If his income suddenly dropped after you filed for divorce, he might be deferring compensation from his employer until after your divorce is final. You or your attorney can depose his employer, questioning him under oath, to find out what’s going on.

Proving Hidden Assets

Step 1

Use your spouse's tax returns to identify hidden assets. If he reported any interest or dividend income from investments, this will appear on his tax returns. He should be admitting to owning a corresponding asset.

Step 2

Subpoena banks for statements for any accounts in your spouse’s name, especially those he may have opened after you filed for divorce. The statements will show if he’s been writing checks to one or more individuals, repaying "loans" that didn’t exist until you filed for divorce. You or your attorney can depose these people, asking them questions under oath, to determine what the payments were ostensibly for.

Step 3

Do a public records check for any assets held in your husband’s name, as well as any in the names of any of his family members or friends. Your spouse may have used marital funds to purchase assets that he then titled in someone else’s name, intending to take them back after your divorce is final.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More
Can You Demand a Proof of Expense List in a Divorce?

References

Related articles

Divorce & a Spouse's Cash Income

If your spouse earns some of his income through cash sources -- for example, if his business deals mostly in cash or his employer pays him in cash -- you may find yourself trying to prove his cash income to the court during your divorce action if he reports less income than you know he actually makes. Though this can be difficult, there are ways to make sure the court is aware of his unreported income.

How to Fight a Divorce Without a Lawyer

When you’re embroiled in a contested divorce, it’s usually not the best time to begin mastering the applicable laws in your state. Sometimes this is unavoidable, however; not everyone can afford an attorney. If you can't and you must go it alone, arm yourself with as many facts as possible.

Forensic Accounting for Divorces

People who would never cheat in the normal course of life sometimes find themselves fighting dirty when it comes to the emotionally-charged issue of divorce. Whichever side of the fence you're on – whether you've found yourself doing things you never dreamed of or you suspect your spouse is up to something sneaky – a skillful forensic accountant will probably find out about it.

Get Divorced Online

Related articles

How to Tell During the Divorce Process If the Opposing Party Is Acting in Bad Faith

When spouses begin separating their lives in preparation for divorce, they often realize they are about to lose ...

Penalty for Hiding Assets in a Divorce

Sometimes, in a divorce, one spouse will try to hide or conceal assets from the other spouse. For example, this may ...

What to Take to the Attorneys Office When Filing for Divorce

Beginning your divorce can be a little like a scavenger hunt. Although it’s not required that you supply your ...

Why Do I Have to Give My Payroll Stubs to My Divorce Attorney?

Divorces revolve around two important issues: your children and your finances. Your pay stubs can affect both. Judges ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED