Protection in Divorce Against Asset and Income Hiding

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Your and your spouse’s income and asset information are needed when structuring the key divorce settlement issues:  property split and any alimony or child support calculations.  If you suspect that your spouse is hiding income or assets, or if you think he/she has the potential to do so, you will gain some protection by having the spouse complete a Tax Information Authorization (Form 8821).  This form grants you access to the spouse’s tax related information that has been filed with the Internal Revenue Service.  You will have to specify the type of tax (individual, corporate, partnerships, etc.) and the tax years that you are authorized access to.

Adding a provision to your divorce requiring this tax information be shared with you annually  is wise if you are concerned about ongoing income under-reporting.  Getting the form signed by your ex-spouse after the final decree will be much more challenging.

This is by no means a fool-proof process for identifying hidden income or assets if your ex-spouse does not accurately report to the IRS (which is a crime) or is not required to.   However, it gives you the legal right to access what they do report.