What if I feel my spouse is hiding assets?

By Bob Matteucci
Attorney

New Mexico became a no-fault divorce state decades ago, which means that you don’t need to prove your spouse is cheating on you, or has otherwise wronged you, in order to get a divorce. 

So you might think that spouses no longer need to hire private eyes to snoop on their partners. But Sam Spade and Nancy Drew aren’t out of a job just yet. 

It is not uncommon for people in the Albuquerque area who are getting divorced to hire a private eye, forensic accountant, appraiser, or other expert because they suspect their spouse is hiding assets. 

As someone with an MBA and business experience, as well as a law degree, Attorney Bob Matteucci is well-suited to advise clients in these situations.

New Mexico’s Community Property Laws Give Shysters an Incentive to Hide Assets 

New Mexico is a community property state, which means most couples end up splitting their assets 50/50. This system recognizes the value both partners have brought to the marriage, and ensures nobody is trapped in a marriage because they cannot afford to get out. 

But it can incentivize bad actors to hide assets they do not want to share with their partners. This can mean physically hiding items, but it can also mean:

  • undervaluing business assets, 
  • giving expensive gifts or “loans” to friends or family members who will turn around and give them back after the divorce is finalized, 
  • hiding the fact that martial funds were used in a certain way, or 
  • lying about the character of assets that would otherwise be considered separate property.

Trust Your Gut 

Despite the fact that you are getting divorced, you and your spouse have a special bond. You have shared your lives with one another. And you know each other better than most other people. 

So you know when something is off. You can tell when your partner is lying, cheating, or trying to screw someone over. 

When you get that gut feeling that your soon-to-be-ex is trying to pull a fast one, don’t doubt it. Share your suspicions with your attorney, and get ready to do some sleuthing. 

Bring in the Professional Snoopers

One of the most important things you can do in anticipation of divorce is pull your financial records together. Collect and organize everything you can get your hands on, including bank statements, tax returns, investment accounts, retirement accounts, credit card statements, loan documents, and property deeds. 

If you start to notice discrepancies or unusual transactions when you are pulling all this information together — or you get that gut feeling that something is not right — it is time to talk to an attorney like Bob Matteucci who has the financial chops to investigate your suspicions. 

Bob can also advise you when it would be appropriate to bring in a third party to assist in the investigation. 

  • A forensic accountant can analyze financial records to identify any signs of hidden assets or income. They are skilled in tracing funds and uncovering concealed financial activities.
  • An assessor can determine the true value of assets that are to be divided. This can be particularly important if there are business assets that should be considered marital property. 
  • Hiring a detective may be appropriate if you suspect your spouse is physically hiding certain assets or temporarily loaning them out to friends and family.

It may be tempting to poke around yourself to try to catch your former partner in their lie, but letting others do the heavy lifting is often a better option. Professionals know what sort of evidence is needed to prove someone is hiding assets. And if you start asking too many questions it may tip your partner off and allow them to further cover their tracks. 

Serving Families with Dignity & Compassion

Most of the clients Attorney Bob Matteucci works with are ready and willing to divide their assets up and move forward with their life — and have a former partner who is ready to do the same. But he has worked on a number of cases over the years where one spouse was hiding assets. Fortunately, Bob knows how to identify the signs that someone is not being forthcoming about their finances, and what steps to take to discover the truth. And he is ready to put this experience to work for you. Please contact him today to schedule an initial consultation.

About the Author
Bob Matteucci is a board certified family law specialist, with a statewide practice in the area of divorce and family law.