Disclosing Your Assets During Divorce
During the divorce process, there are a lot of details that will be gone over. Your finances are just a fraction of those things. It’s important you and your spouse disclose all your financial assets during divorce or things could go bad for that spouse. If it’s true oversight that you don’t disclose a certain financial asset, you might have a chance to recover, but if you hide assets, you could lose the chance to receive alimony.
How Can an Asset Be Hidden?
You might think you know everything about your spouse’s financial situation, but it is possible he or she is hiding finances from you. There are multiple ways this can be done. For example, if your spouse owns a business, either together with you or on his or her own, money can be hidden within the business. You might find paychecks written to employees who don’t exist or checks written out to anonymous sources.
If your spouse doesn’t have access to a business to hide finances, he or she might set up a trust. The person named in the trust would be someone he or she has faith in to receive the money for the time being, but give it back after the final divorce. If your spouse has a new lover already, he or she might be secretly holding on to some of your marital money for use when the divorce is final.
Is There a Way To Find the Assets?
When you’re worried your spouse has hidden assets, you can work with your lawyer to find them. There are a few ways you can go about this:
Hire a Forensic Accountant – This type of professional can dig deep into your shared assets to find some that are hidden.
- Complete the Discovery Process – During your divorce, you’ll go through a period of discovery, which is when you’ll gather evidence in preparation for going before a judge. You can collect financial statements on your own, but you can also request financial documents from your spouse.
- Get Assets Appraised – There’s a chance your spouse will downplay the value of certain assets, such as art or jewelry, in hopes you won’t realize how valuable it actually is. Having assets appraised is one way you can determine whether the spouse is being honest.
What Penalties Are There?
If your spouse is caught with hidden assets, there are some serious penalties he or she will have to pay. One penalty is jail time. Another is having to pay the other spouse either a portion of his or her share of the assets, and depending on the severity of the hidden assets, possibly the entire portion.
Getting a Lawyer Involved
Sometimes the best way to find hidden assets is by getting a lawyer involved to help keep you honest during your divorce proceedings, but to also find ways your spouse might be cheating you out of financial security.