Tax writer and adviser Julian Block notes that many women coming to him for divorce-linked advice essentially fall into three buckets.
One group might be termed “general.” Those individuals seek strategy input on matters that commonly feature in decouplings, such as the division of assets and alimony.
Another group comprises already divorced women whose former partners need some cajoling to perform on prior promises concerning things like child support and spousal maintenance.
And then there is the final category. These clients seek advice on “whether it’s worth hiring private investigators to track down any hidden assets.”
The concern that some divorcing parties have with financially cheating soon-to-be exes is legitimate and should not be understated. We referenced asset concealment in a September 25 blog post. We noted therein that this flatly illegal practice exists “across the wealth spectrum … in marriages featuring scant marital property and those involving a deep and varied asset pool.”
When it does, a suspecting spouse might reasonably want to secure the close input of an experienced divorce attorney with a deep well of experience in property division matters. Proven legal counsel can help identify, value and ensure an equitable distribution of assets.
Block lends some advice that might be additionally acted upon by a taken-advantage-of spouse at a very early stage, perhaps as an exercise in information gathering that might assist or otherwise supplement a retained attorney’s efforts.
Check the tax returns, he says. A jointly filed 1040 can be a treasure trove of information concerning account sources, contact details, amounts and completed transactions. The various schedules on a tax return can uncover data that might spotlight spousal wrongdoing and give women seeking legal ammunition “a starting point for their quest.” (This applies with equal force to defrauded male clients as well, of course.)
A seasoned family law attorney can act upon such information and that additionally discovered through other means, presenting it to a court for its perusal and follow-up action.
We note an obvious point in our above-linked blog post, namely, that accumulating wealth during a marriage is an accomplishment born of hard work and sacrifice. Attempts that seek to deny an impending former partner from realizing a fair share of marital assets are unethical and often unlawful, and can be vigorously challenged with help from proven legal counsel.