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Catch your spouse red-handed hiding assets

Sometimes in a hotly contested divorce, couples deceitfully try to hide assets from one another to avoid losing them in a property settlement. This can backfire if the spouse gets caught, but the other spouse first has to know where to look or even that those assets exist.

What should you do if you are unsure if your spouse is fully disclosing all of his or her assets?

Your first move should be to alert your family law attorney to the possibility. He or she can often recommend a forensic accountant to scour the books and track suspicious monetary transactions and sales of securities. There will be electronic trails to almost every type of transaction.

But those services don't come cheap, so sometimes you have to do a little preliminary investigating on your own. Become your own electronic private eye and install software on shared computers and cellphones to which you have access. Hide a tracking device on the vehicle they drive to see if they are draining accounts through strategic ATM withdrawals. Just make sure that any electronic surveillance tactics you employ are within the bounds of Tennessee laws. If they aren't, they cannot be used in court.

Once your suspicions are confirmed, make sure that your family law attorney is comfortable with high-tech tracking of assets. If they aren't but have someone they can task with the job, it's still okay, but be wary of anyone who appears to be a complete technophobe or Luddite.

The website of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers reports that nine out of 10 attorneys indicate that their clients are increasingly relying on smartphone technologies to reveal financial infidelities. Text messages, social media posts and PayPal transactions all offer glimpses of hidden financial lives being led by spouses unbeknownst to their husbands or wives.

Don't gamble with your financial future in a divorce. Determine what, if any, assets are being squirreled away by your spouse and demand a full accounting to the court.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Uncovering Hidden Assets in Divorce Litigation," David Centeno, accessed July 01, 2016

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