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Joint returns can clue you into hidden assets before a divorce

On Behalf of | Mar 24, 2020 | Firm News |

In Mississippi, emotions surrounding contentious divorces can run so high that people lose their objectivity. They begin thinking that certain unethical practices might be necessary to protect themselves. Some may even believe that it is perfectly okay to hide money and property illegally to punish their spouses. 

We want you to know that if you believe your partner is hiding assets from you, you have every right to uncover them. 

How to examine a tax return 

If you are like most people, 1040 forms are mysterious documents that only CPAs can decipher. However, looking for specific details can often uncover red flags. If you file jointly, you are legally entitled to review and pick apart the return at any time. A CNBC report lists these IRS forms where you could start: 

W-2s and pay stubs 

W-2s, which detail earnings and IRS withholdings, could clue you into unusually high tax contributions. Your spouse may be overpaying taxes and not filing returns. After your divorce, those back returns will put that money back into your ex’s pocket. 

Your partner could also be paying extra into an HSA or 401(k) to reduce his or her income level prior to alimony or child support judgments. You can find these details on your spouse’s pay stub. 

Schedule B and Schedule D 

Most people rarely review dividend and capital gains tax documents. Your spouse could siphon money out of shared investments and go unnoticed for years. Schedule B could point attention to stock dividend payments that vanish rather than go to their intended use. Schedule D details capital gains and losses where you might find disappearing property or investments. 


Form 1099-R documents any investment retirement account distributions. Even if below the retirement age, your spouse could withdraw the money without your knowledge if he or she thinks the fees and penalties are worth it. 

You deserve the chance for a fair and equitable division of your marital property. For more information on the intricacies of a high-asset divorce, please visit our webpage.