What Is Concealing Assets?
During a divorce, it’s easy to get caught up on important issues like child custody and property divisions. Although these are essential parts of a divorce, there are also more complex factors to consider, such as if your spouse has concealed assets you don’t know existed. A concealed asset is any property, income, or financial resource that one of the spouses wasn’t aware of because of the concealment. Examples of assets that could be hidden include bank accounts, investments, and real estate.
During the divorce, both parties will be asked to disclose all assets and to provide values of those assets, so that the parties’ property may be split fairly by the courts. Sometimes, one person doesn’t mention a particular item(s) because they want it for themselves. If this information is found at the trial, it may delay the finalization of the divorce to spend time on separating the assets properly. If discovered after the trial, the party who was affected by the nondisclosure could have remedies, but they are subject to certain statutory limitations.
What Happens to Hidden Assets in Divorce?
How assets are hidden is simple they aren’t disclosed to the other spouse. The hard part is finding where they were hidden. For example, a spouse may ‘hide’ items of personal property, bank accounts, or money by giving them to another person, who will return them after the divorce is finalized. The discovery process of a divorce case occurs to help prevent concealment and to find any potential hidden assets. This can be done by asking for years’ worth of statements in some cases, which could allow the other spouse the ability to track the activity of that account. Also during this stage, lawyers from both sides can ask for specific documents and evidence to help find where these may be located, as well as ask to take a party’s deposition.
People hide their assets from their spouses for many reasons, but a common cause is that they want the money or the asset for themselves. The concealment of assets can happen either before or after a divorce. Although this process may be illegal in certain states, it still occurs. If caught, the judge proceeding over your divorce case can force you to hand over a spouse’s rightful part of the business, property, investments, or money.
What To Do If Your Spouse Is Hiding Money?
If you are suspicious of your spouse hiding assets from you, there are ways to find out. Hiring a forensic accountant is one option, as they can help you investigate financial statements and records. Forensic accountants specialize in uncovering financial records that have been attempted to be buried or concealed. Another option would be hiring a private investigator, who can search public records for potential hidden assets, like real estate.
During a divorce proceeding, you and your lawyer have the right to engage in written discovery. Specific motions can be allowed to ensure the discovery process is followed through. Requests to admit facts can be imposed on the party you believe is hiding information. Another motion is the request for admission of the genuineness of the document. This would be allowed to secure any documentation proving a spouse has concealed assets. Oftentimes using these processes is how assets are brought to light.
Can A Divorce Lawyer Uncover Concealed Assets?
If you are concerned with how your assets will be divided and if your spouse has hidden any assets, consider contacting a divorce lawyer to help you uncover the truth. Strieker Law Firm has the expertise and knowledge of how complex contested divorces can be and the importance of ensuring property and assets are divided fairly.
Our experience with divorce and property division has allowed us to support our clients for years. You should have access to all assets you worked towards, and we can help ensure your property, money, and other shared items are split reasonably. If you are currently going through a divorce with concealed or shared assets, contact Strieker Law Firm by phone at 618-391-1120 or contact our team.