Uncovering Hidden Assets in Divorce: The Shocking Truth


Attention attorneys, are you tired of missing hidden assets in divorce cases?  As a seasoned forensic accountant, I’ve seen it all – from clandestine bank accounts to creative schemes that would make even the most cunning of con artists blush.  Let me take you on a journey through the murky waters of hidden assets, where love and numbers intertwine in unexpected ways.

Hidden Assets and How They Were Concealed

Secret Bank Accounts: Funds quietly stashed away under the guise of “emergency funds” or “business expenses.”

Undervalued Assets: Intentionally downplaying the value of properties, vehicles, or other valuables.

Cryptocurrency Investments: Virtual assets tucked away in encrypted wallets or traded through anonymous platforms.

Hidden Income Streams: Income diverted through shell companies or unreported side ventures.

Offshore Holdings: Assets squirreled away in offshore accounts or overseas properties.

Art and Antiques: Valuable collectibles overlooked or undervalued.

Family Loans: Loans extended to friends or family, conveniently forgotten during the divorce proceedings.

Cash: Physical cash hoarded or disguised as everyday expenses.

Deferred Compensation: Future earnings or bonuses deliberately postponed until after the divorce is finalized.

Digital Assets: Intellectual property, royalties, or digital businesses kept under wraps.

Humorous Anecdote:

Love and numbers are indeed peculiar bedfellows. Just like trying to predict the trajectory of a relationship, forecasting financial outcomes can be an exercise in futility. After all, both affairs of the heart and balance sheets have a knack for surprising even the most seasoned observers. As they say, sometimes love and numbers simply refuse to follow the rules!

Main Content:

In the following sections, I’ll delve into real-life scenarios where forensic accounting uncovered these hidden assets, revealing the unexpected tales hidden beneath the surface.

Secret Bank Accounts: A seemingly innocuous “emergency fund” turned out to be a slush fund for lavish gifts and secret rendezvous.

Undervalued Assets: An ex-spouse conveniently undervalued their art collection, only for forensic accountants to discover a hidden cache of priceless paintings in a storage unit.

Cryptocurrency Investments: Through meticulous blockchain analysis, hidden Bitcoin holdings were traced back to an anonymous exchange account.

Hidden Income Streams: A spouse’s “consulting fees” were revealed to be payments from a side business they never disclosed.

Offshore Holdings: Overseas properties were uncovered through extensive international asset searches, shedding light on hidden real estate investments.

Art and Antiques: An overlooked vintage car collection hidden in a remote garage, bypassing initial asset assessments.

Family Loans: Loans to relatives were uncovered through thorough examination of financial records, exposing attempts to shield assets.

Cash: Physical cash hidden in safes or safety deposit boxes, only to be discovered through meticulous inventorying.

Deferred Compensation: Future bonuses and stock options were tracked through employment contracts and financial statements, ensuring fair division of assets.

Digital Assets: Hidden royalties from a bestselling book were uncovered through forensic analysis of publishing contracts and royalty statements.


Each of these hidden assets was detected through rigorous forensic accounting techniques, including thorough document analysis, asset tracing, and financial modeling. Failure to uncover these assets can have significant financial implications, leaving one party at a severe disadvantage during divorce proceedings.

As a forensic accountant, my expertise lies in uncovering these hidden assets and ensuring equitable distribution during divorce cases. By leveraging my skills and experience, attorneys can ensure that their clients receive their fair share of marital assets, avoiding costly oversights and maximizing financial outcomes.

In the complex world of divorce proceedings, don’t let hidden assets remain buried. Partner with a forensic accountant who can uncover the truth and secure your client’s financial future.


When navigating finances in divorce, consider the topics discussed above.  Lessons learned from these humorous negotiation anecdotes may be helpful.  If you or someone you know is going through a divorce, remember that while it can be challenging, finding common ground and fair resolutions is essential. Seek the guidance of legal professionals and mediators who can help you navigate this complex process with empathy and fairness.

I have earned a Master’s Degree in Business Valuations and apply those skills to my everyday business valuations.

Richard Claywell has been valuing closely held companies since 1985.  He has earned two of the highest designations in the business valuation field, the Certified Business Appraiser (“CBA”) and Accredited Senior Appraiser (“ASA”). Richard is a Certified Public Accountant, has a Master’s in Business Valuation (MBV), and holds ASA, CBA, ABV, ICVS, CVA, MAFF, CFD, ABAR, CVGA, and ICVS-A credentials.

I hold the Master Analyst in Financial Forensics and the Certified in Fraud Deterrence.  I have taught forensic accounting/fraud courses in the United States, China, and Taiwan.

I welcome and encourage comments and feedback. If you benefit from this series, please recommend it to your friends and colleagues and suggest they sign up to receive posts regularly.

© 2024 J. Richard Claywell, CPA, ABV, ASA, CBA, CVA, ICVS,  MAFF, CFD, ABAR, ICVS-A, MBV – all rights reserved


Richard Claywell is the co-author of Capitalization and Discount Rates: The Value of Risk and contributing author of the NACVA Fundamentals Theory & Techniques training materials. Richard is also the Chairman of the International Certified Valuation Specialist Association. Richard has made presentations on business valuation topics in Germany, China, Korea, and Taiwan. Richard is also a contributing editor to Practitioners Publishing Company’s Guide to Practical Estate Planning (2008). Richard is the chief architect for the Business Valuation Manager Pro business valuation software program and the accompanying Professional Report Writer and contributing author of Financial Valuation: Application and Models.

Richard can be reached at 281.488.7531 or richard@biz-valuation.com

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