Serving Clients in Knox, Blount, Anderson, Loudon, Sevier & Roane Counties

Divorce and Hidden Money

How can I find the money my husband is hiding?

During a divorce, statutory injunctions listed at T.C.A. 36-6-104 automatically go into effect that prohibit either spouse, essentially, from spending money for a non-marital purpose, such as on a girlfriend for example. Neither spouse can hide money, but often, they still do. Your lawyer needs to find that money.

At Held Law Firm, we use a combination of strategies to find the money that your spouse may have hidden.

First, we issue Interrogatories and Requests for Production of Documents.

  • “Interrogatories” are written questions that your spouse answers in writing, under oath. We ask about all your spouse’s financial accounts, including bank accounts and retirement plans.

  • “Requests for Production of Documents” means that he must, within thirty days give us copies of financial records including bank statements, credit card statements, and income tax returns.

Yes, they lie. They don’t tell us everything. Sometimes we must go to court to force them to answer the questions at all. But the Court will make your spouse answer the questions eventually. Even incomplete or inaccurate answers give us “breadcrumbs” to find the money they are hiding.

Second, we issue subpoenas.

  • Subpoenas are demands to third parties, like your spouse’s bank or employer, to give us your spouse’s financial records directly. The great thing about subpoenas is that we get all the records, within 45 days, with little to no chance of anything missing or untruthful.

  • Because those records are relatively complete, we can track how money flows from one account to the other. For example, if we see money transferring to an account, but we don’t have records from that account, we can then demand your spouse to give us those missing account records, or we can subpoena the bank where the money was transferred to for those missing records.

The process takes time, but usually, we have a decent picture of how much your spouse is hiding within 3-6 months.

If it becomes clear to us that your spouse is hiding a lot of money, we may begin a forensic accounting.

  • A forensic accounting is a similar process, but amped up. In performing a forensic accounting, we do more than analyze numbers on a page. We demonstrate how those numbers reflect appropriate and inappropriate choices made by a spouse, and how those numbers should be distributed to heal any financial injury the spouse has inflicted on our client.

  • When we do a forensic accounting for our clients, we often (but not always) retain a CPA to ensure that our numbers are accurate, but we also tell the story behind those numbers.

For all clients and in every divorce, we identify all assets and debts of the marriage.

  • We objectively document how much each asset or debt is worth, whether the asset or debt was acquired during the marriage or alternatively was a gift or acquired prior to marriage, and in whose name the asset or debt is in.

With a forensic accounting, we investigate more deeply.

For example:

  • does the tax return reflect payment of a capital gains tax? If so, do we know what asset was sold?

  • Was there income from a trust that they did not disclose? Where did the money come from that went into that trust?

  • Did a stock vest? If so, did your spouse sell it or just receive dividends?

  • Did your spouse manipulate the closing statement on sale of real estate to show less money flowing to her than there should have been? Who bought that property? Anyone with ties to your spouse?

  • Where are the materials that were bought with that Lowes credit card?

Held Law Firm takes pride in finding the money, but we are not ourselves accountants. Sometimes, a case is so complex that we hire an independent forensic accountant to help describe what’s going on for the court. Make no mistake: we do not tell that accountant the result we want, though some sleazy lawyers do this all the time. Instead, we tell our expert accountant to play it straight – just help us find the money and help us describe for the Judge what the fair remedy is.

We have found that through our own investigation, and with the aid of the right forensic expert, we have always caught the sleazy lawyer or lying spouse who hides money. At least up until now, by being honest, forthright, and clear, we have gotten our clients the money they are due whether their spouse likes it or not.

Divorce is stressful enough without you having to worry you won’t get your fair share. That’s why you need a detail-oriented, thorough, honest attorney. Give us a call at 865-637-6550. We look forward to helping you.