During a divorce, property division is a crucial process. However, some spouses may attempt to conceal assets to avoid their fair share of property division. Hidden assets may include bank accounts, investments, or real estate that a spouse fails to disclose during divorce proceedings.
Finding hidden assets can be challenging, but several resources are available to uncover any hidden financial information. Understanding the methods used to discover hidden assets can help spouses ensure they receive their fair share of marital property.
Divorce is always a complex and challenging process, but it becomes even more daunting when one party tries to hide assets to avoid sharing them. During high-asset divorce, some spouses may be tempted to withhold some assets from the divorce court to protect their financial interests, but doing so is deeply unethical.
What Are Hidden Assets?
Hidden assets involve any property or wealth that one spouse deliberately conceals from the other during a divorce to avoid property division. These assets can include bank accounts, real estate, businesses, stocks, bonds, and even cash. The aim is to misrepresent the marital asset pool to gain an unfair advantage during the property division process.
How Do Spouses Hide Assets?
There are numerous ways spouses can hide assets. Some common methods include:
- Transferring Assets to Friends or Family: One spouse may transfer money or property to a third party with the intention of getting it back after the divorce.
- Overpaying Taxes or Creditors: A spouse may overpay the IRS or creditors, planning to get a refund after the divorce is finalized.
- Creating Phony Debt: The spouse may create a false debt with a friend or family member and repay it after the divorce.
- Underreporting Income: This involves not reporting all income on tax returns or financial statements.
- Buying Items of High Value: A spouse may invest in expensive items like art or antiques, which can be sold later.
While hidden assets are intentionally hard to find, you can track down every cent with the help of a qualified attorney and other professionals.
How Do You Find Hidden Assets?
Attorneys, accountants, and other third parties play a crucial role in locating hidden assets during a divorce. Here is how:
- Forensic Accounting: Many divorce attorneys work with forensic accountants who specialize in investigating financial discrepancies and fraud. To identify inconsistencies, they examine tax returns, bank statements, and other financial records.
- Discovery Process: During the discovery process, your attorney can request financial documents from your spouse and conduct depositions to question them under oath about their finances.
- Use of Subpoenas: If your spouse refuses to produce necessary financial documents, your attorney can use subpoenas to compel banks, employers, and other entities to produce these records.
- Asset Search Professionals: In some cases, attorneys may hire asset search professionals who specialize in finding hidden assets domestically and internationally.
- Examination of Public Records: Public records can reveal real estate holdings, business ownership, and other assets your spouse may have failed to disclose.
Uncovering hidden assets in a divorce can be a daunting task, but with the help of an experienced attorney, it becomes much more manageable. Transparency and honesty are vital during divorce proceedings, and hiding assets can lead to severe legal consequences. If you suspect your spouse is hiding assets, contact an experienced attorney to safeguard your rights and ensure a fair division of property.
Contact Arnel Law Firm to learn how we can help you navigate divorce.