What to Do If You Think Your Spouse is Hiding Assets in Your Divorce
It is not uncommon for one spouse to attempt to hide assets when facing the prospect of a divorce, particularly if he or she is the spouse with a much greater income. Especially if one spouse is not familiar with the parties’ finances or has not handled financial matters throughout the duration of the marriage, it can be very difficult to track down all of the marital assets. If you cannot identify all marital assets, then it is impossible to reach a fair division of debts and assets in your divorce. Fortunately, if you are in this situation, you can take some simple steps to help ensure that you and your divorce attorney are able to locate all marital assets for disposition in your divorce.
Preparing for Divorce
If you believe that your marriage is headed for divorce or you intend to file for divorce in the near future, you should take steps now to make sure that you have all of the information that you need from a financial perspective, well before you even meet with your divorce attorney. This may not always be an easy task, particularly if your spouse traditionally handled all of your household finances. Your spouse also may not be willing to give you documentation of your financial situation, or you may not want to yet disclose to him or her that you intend to file for divorce. Whatever the case may be, you should take the time and gather as many financial documents as you can, whether they concern property or debts. It does not matter at this point whether the accounts are titled in your spouse’s name only or in both your names; you should get information about both types of accounts. Some of the documents that you might be looking for include the following:
- Bank account statements, including checking and savings accounts
- Investment or retirement account statements, including pension funds, IRAs, 401(k) accounts, 403(b) accounts, and brokerage accounts
- Mortgage statements
- Statements for credit card accounts, vehicle loans, and any other type of loans
- Appraisal reports for real estate or valuable items of personal property
- Documentation of any safe deposit boxes owned by either party
- Income tax forms, both personal and business
Uncovering Hidden Assets
If you are unable to obtain information about some or all financial matters related to your marriage, or if you believe that your spouse has hidden away some assets, the discovery process can be quite useful to you. Your Florida divorce lawyer can request that your spouse disclose all information regarding any asset or debt that belongs to you jointly or separately, subpoena records from financial institutions directly, and demand the production of financial documents from your spouse. You both are also required to complete detailed financial affidavits that give information about all assets and debts. If your spouse fails to disclose this information, he or she may be forced to give testimony about assets and debts under oath. Experts such as forensic accountants also may be necessary in some cases in order to discover assets, particularly if your spouse is a business owner and has been diverting money out of the business without your knowledge or consent.
Call Vanessa L. Prieto, Your Fort Lauderdale Divorce Attorney
At the Vanessa L. Prieto Law Offices, LLC, you will find a Fort Lauderdale divorce lawyer who has the knowledge and the experience that you need to handle all aspects of your divorce, including the discovery and disposition of hidden marital assets. Contact us today, and explore what we can do for you in your Florida divorce case.