Uncovering Financial Fraud During Your Divorce
During any type of divorce proceeding, one of the most important decisions that will be made concerns dividing the property accumulated during the marriage. Whether you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse own a lot or a little, obtaining your fair share of the value for real estate, material possessions, and financial accounts is key to rebuilding your life and securing your future. The division of marital assets in a divorce is overseen by the court, and the goal is to ensure both parties receive their rightful, equitable share. This becomes impossible if your spouse provides fraudulent information with the intent of hiding assets or mismanaged funds.
Hidden Assets In Divorce Proceedings
Under Section 61.075 of the Florida State Statutes, marital assets and liabilities are divided equitably as opposed to evenly, with the intent of ensuring both parties get the appropriate share. Factors the court considers in making these decisions include the duration of the marriage, the economic circumstances of each spouse, and any sacrifices or contributions one of them may have made to the other in terms of supporting them in their career.
In order to reach an equitable agreement, each party is required to disclose all property and assets accumulated during the marriage. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for one spouse to hide assets from the other in an effort to retain more than their rightful share. Hidden assets may include any of the following:
- Undisclosed business profits, earnings, and bonuses;
- Property titled under alternative forms of ownership;
- Financial accounts and stocks owned privately or under a company name;
- Accumulations of cash that have been stockpiled over months or even years.
Signs your spouse may be hiding assets include unaccounted for bank withdrawals, unexplained business dealings, the existence of private accounts, or having mail sent to an alternate address.
In addition to hidden assets, mismanaged funds can significantly impact the financial settlement you are entitled to receive from your divorce. Known as dissipation, this occurs when one spouse has squandered assets the other spouse has a rightful claim to. According to a Huffington Post report on financial fraud during divorce, common examples of dissipation include:
- Money spent on extramarital relationships and affairs;
- Gambling debts;
- Excessive spending;
- Selling property for less than what it is worth;
- Making loans or financial gifts without their spouse’s knowledge;
- Allowing homes or other real estate to fall into foreclosure;
- Destroying or failing to maintain marital property and assets.
In cases involving dissipation, you may be entitled to a larger share of any remaining property that exists, particularly if you can prove that your spouse’s financial mismanagement was intentional.
Reach Out to us Today for Help
If you are contemplating the break-up of a marriage or have questions about divorce proceedings, contact the Vanessa L. Prieto Law Offices, LLC, today. Our experienced Florida divorce attorney can help to answer your questions and address your concerns, while acting as a strong legal advocate to ensure your rights and interests are protected.