Sometimes, despite even the most aggressive discovery strategy, your spouse will manage to hide assets and income from you. This is most common in divorce cases where one spouse is self-employed or receives wages from tips or under-the-table.
If you’re not ready to hire a Pennsylvania divorce attorney, there are many ways you can attempt to uncover this information on your own.
If you suspect your spouse is underreporting their income to the court, and the IRS, the first place to look is your lifestyle as a married couple. If you regularly took extravagant vacations, or if your spouse had an expensive shoe habit, you can point to those luxuries as proof of higher income (of course, you must also consider how many purchases were charged on credit cards).
You can also look at your bank statements from during the marriage. If lots of money was going in and out of your accounts, in amounts greater than your spouse could have deposited at their reported income, that is additional evidence of other income. Also note your spouse’s lifestyle after separation. Is he or she posting photos of her exotic vacations on Facebook, or going out every night? If so, take note.
Official records are another type of information you might need for your divorce. If you are missing copies of your tax returns, you can ask for them from your accountant or you can request them directly from the IRS for a small fee. Other documents such as corporate registrations, titles to automobiles, and property deeds, are available at public offices such as the Secretary of State, Department of Motor Vehicles, or Recorder of Deeds.
Similarly, Social Security records, loan applications, and records of retirement accounts might be useful to your divorce case. If so, you will have to request a court order, or use a subpoena or signed authorization from your spouse, to get access to these things.
While missing information can be frustrating at first, there are ways to fill in the holes and get the information you need. It might require a little research and persistence, but your hard work will be well worth it.
If you are in need of more information or want to consult with one of our Pennsylvania divorce attorneys, please contact the attorneys of Petrelli Previtera, LLC at (215) 523-6900.