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Financial issues involved in a divorce, especially high net worth cases, can often become rather complicated.  Unreported income and hidden assets are often alleged in divorce proceedings, usually by the spouse who is either not running a business or has not been in charge of the family finances.

It is not uncommon for a spouse to hide assets, especially if the divorce has been planned for quite a while.  People hide assets for a variety of reasons, but essentially, they have property or money that they do not want to have discovered. 

The most common types of assets hidden are cash, bonds, mutual funds, cash value in insurance policies and variable annuities, stocks, travelers’ checks, Series EE savings bonds, and bearer municipal bonds.

Conversion of cash into personal property such as art, jewelry, collectibles, antiques, vehicles, boats and planes are also possibilities. Hobby equipment, gun collections, original paintings, collector quality carpets and tools are examples of asset conversion that often are overlooked and undervalued.

There are numerous ways to find hidden assets, but typically assets are either placed in the hands of third parties or behind false documents. The process of finding assets or proving unreported income is often one of the most difficult assignments during the divorce process. Being familiar with ways individuals move assets into the hands of third parties or behind false documents and techniques to find those hidden assets can result in the discovery of this property. 

There are two levels of investigation.  At the first level, formal discovery procedures such as interrogatories, depositions, subpoenas, requests to produce and motions to compel can provide information to review and analyze the marital and non-marital estates. If an individual does not have a detailed list of assets and debts along with documents to prove the whereabouts, then the second level of discovery is applied by investigating and tracing transfer of ownership of assets into other individuals’ or entities’ names.

We, at The Zhou Law Group, APC can assist you in discovering these hidden assets to protect your rights and interest.  If you have any questions regarding Family Law, please feel to arrange a free 1/2 hour initial consultation with our Family Law Attorneys by calling (408)289-9688, or contacting us online at