During a marriage in New York, in theory, spouses share everything. However, this is certainly not always the case. Many times, people know that bills are paid and may have a general idea of how much the other spouse earns. But, the other spouse may hide financial information from the other spouse. Other times, one spouse handles all the finances, and the other one really does not know much about the finances.
During a divorce, this can be advantages for the spouse that knows about the finances, but it can be very detrimental to the other one. Couples are supposed to exchange financial information during a divorce, but if one spouse knows little about the finances, he or she may not know if the spouse is hiding something. This tends to be more common in a high asset divorce, when one spouse knows they will have to pay a lot to the other one.
There are ways to determine if a spouse is hiding assets though. One is by inspecting tax returns to look for income information and where the spouse received their income. Another is by simply analyzing a person's lifestyle. Did they recently go on an expensive vacation or buy an expensive car or collectable?
Also, a person can analyze business records, if a spouse owns the business, to try to figure out how money is distributed in the company. In addition, analyze bank statements and determine whether they took out large ATM withdrawals or made other purchases.
High asset divorces can be very complicated in New York. As one can see above simply determining if the other spouse disclosed all the marital assets can be difficult. Then once all the assets have been found, sometimes, determining the fair market value of all the assets can be difficult and require the assistance of various professionals. Experienced attorneys understand these complications and can be a valuable resource.
Source: DivorceandFinance.org, "Techniques for Discovering Hidden Assets and Unreported Income during the Divorce Process" accessed on Sept. 12, 2016