How to handle a partner that is hiding assets in a divorce

What is Hidden Asset Search and why is it important?

How to handle a partner that is hiding assets in a divorce

When you are suspecting that your spouse or ex-spouse is hiding assets from you, it is tempting to directly confront your partner and demand information about such assets. But the smarter move is to pause, think about your next move, and always avoid tense emotional discussions. Calmly attacking the situation of uncovering hidden assets with expert assistance can be a far more effective means of attaining a better outcome.

There are many ways your spouse or ex-spouse can hide assets from you — undeclaring their full income amount, declaring bankruptcy to avoid payment, not including retirement plan contributions, loaning money to family or friends, transferring ownership of businesses, moving finances to different accounts, making or faking larger expenses, and so much more. The possibilities are endless, and the only way to secure that you are getting the right amount of assets from your partner is through a Hidden Asset Search.

What is a Hidden Asset Search and how should you go about it?

There are three main kinds of asset search:

  1. A Brokerage Account Search – used to locate stocks, bonds, or securities possibly owned,
  2. Bank Account Search – used to locate all bank or linked accounts, and
  3. Public Assistance Search – used to locate any payments or benefits the person may be receiving from government departments like Centrelink or Family Assist.


To obtain these services, you will need a forensic accountant or private investigator who are experts at revealing hidden assets of different kinds. But before you do, carefully prepare all the documents you have or the details that you know that could help; it can simply be writing down any information you can recall about bank accounts, investments, or partnerships that you and your ex-partner may have talked about previously. Sort through financial documents and gather evidence that are available to you – it can be credit card payments, bank withdrawals, online activities, newly-gifted items to people you know, or any medium within your reach.

A few tips that can guide you:

  • List down all known assets you and your partner have – assets you own together or separately.
  • Create a list of your partner’s immediate family members, relatives, acquaintances, business partners, with their names, aliases, or addresses.
  • Track electronic transactions straight from the source when possible.
  • Check transactions on different online mobile payments such as PayPal, ZIP, or POLi.
  • Review account names and numbers on cancelled checks.
  • Gather bank or credit card receipts, loan documents, deeds, title records, account statements, stock certificates, subscription agreements, royalty agreements, tax documents and the like.

Australian courts have 0 tolerance towards hiding assets which is considered fraud; not only will your partner possibly loses the case but can also face heavy fines or even jail time, including those who are involved. If you need help in retrieving hidden assets in a formal, legal process here in Australia, let Forge Legal help you out in calmly navigating your right to a fair share of assets. Contact our office at 1300 0 FORGE to book a no-obligation strategy session today.

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