AZ asks: Ida Independent Part 11

Ida Independent is a 48 year old stay-at-home Mom of two children who is now going through a divorce.  Ida and her husband had decided early on in their marriage that it was in the best interest of the family if she did not work outside of the home so that you could spend her time concentrating on the children and the family.  As a one income family, with no work experience outside of the home since her marriage, Ida was shocked to learn that their financial status had deteriorated to a level that now would require her to find a paying job as soon as possible. Ida had trusted her husband to protect the family financially, but their lack of communication about money played a major role in the derailment of their marriage.

AZ asks: Ida Part 11

AZ asks: You were going to show me something that you received in the mail. Do you have it with you today?

Yes, this came in the mail yesterday and I have never seen anything like this before, but then again my husband handled the majority of our mail. I have to admit I don’t know what it is or what is could be, but it was so nice to see a check instead of a past due notice when I opened the envelope. Just look at the amount the check is written out for!  Ann, this is a lot of money…can you figure out what it is?

AZ:  Ida, This looks like an oil royalty check, but we would need to confirm that.

AZ asks: This wasn’t listed on your joint tax forms when we reviewed them. Is it possible that your husband may have hidden funds or assets from you?

I want to say he would never do that to us, but I just don’t know anymore. I have been surprised so many times over the past few months that I am just going to say that I have no idea what he has already done or what he is planning to do.

AZ: Ida, There are many people that think there is absolutely no problem at all in hiding various types of assets from their spouse, especially if they think they can get away with reducing their child support, alimony payments, etc.

There is no reason to put up with this type of nonsense. If you believe that your soon to be ex is hiding any assets from you then you need to investigate—this affects your financial future.

There are many, many possibilities, but a good starting point for some areas that should be looked into very carefully:

  • If one of the spouses owns a business, was money paid out to a close friend or relative for phony services rendered or products?
  • Where checks ever written to pretend or false employees?
  • Taking cash off the books for one of the businesses?
  • Is there any real estate involved? Have the books on these real estate gains and

losses been changed?

  • Is cash being changed into traveler’s checks?
  • Was a personal payment made on a debt to a family member that was fictional?
  • Has any income earned been kept off the books so that taxes weren’t paid?
  • Is there anything like artwork, antiques or other property whose value is actually undervalued or overlooked?
  • Where any gifts given to a new friend or lover?

AZ:  Ida, if it is possible that your husband has hidden funds or assets that you were not aware of, you will need to do an asset search investigation. This service can be a huge benefit to your divorce proceedings and financial future.

Another avenue is to hire a forensic accountant whose expertise is finding and working with paper trails. For instance, if some monies have been moved off shore there could be a passport paper trail which is a public record. This situation is always a little more difficult but it can be done.

There are also forensic computer specialists that can go back and see where your soon to be ex has been up to on your home computer. They can retrieve deleted information, emails and internet histories.

All of these professionals are trained to work within the parameters of the law and that is very important for your case to stand up in court.

This could change everything for all of us…

To be continued…

Ida Independent is not affiliated with nor endorsed by LPL Financial.

About Ann Zuraw

Ann Zuraw, the voice behind "Chicks, Chat and Change", is a Certified Financial Planner (CFP®), Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA®), and Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA™).If you have comments on this post contact Ann Zuraw

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