In old, black-and-white movies, private investigators were chain-smoking tough guys who were quick with their fists and cynical observations about life. In real lives, private investigators are less glamorous and much less likely to use fisticuffs to get their jobs done.
In a recent newspaper column, a PI wrote that one of the common jobs in his line of work is finding assets hidden by one spouse from the other in a divorce. "Hiding assets is not only unethical," the PI writes, "it's illegal."
He also notes that if a spouse "manages to hide assets successfully, the divorce settlement will inevitably be unfair," depriving the other spouse of their rightful share of marital property.
He writes that assets are most easily hidden when one spouse handles all money matters and the other is unaware of details involving income, bank accounts, property, a pension, investments, etc.
The PI says that one of the common methods of hiding assets (if real estate has only that person's name on it) is to sign the property over to a friend or family member. Other valuable items, such as collections of art or coins, can be "given" away and then omitted from financial disclosure.
Large sums of cash can be stashed in safe deposit boxes or deposited in a friend or family member's account, he says.
If you face the prospect of a divorce and believe your South Florida spouse might be hiding assets, you can contact an attorney experienced in working not only with a private investigator, but also with a CPA, property appraisers, forensic accountants and more. In that way, your rights and interests will be fully protected at every step of the divorce process.