Uncovering Hidden Assets in a Divorce
The end of a relationship can often bring out the worst in people, especially where there are issues regarding the division of property or involving child custody. Tangible assets are a finite resource, and individuals who are getting a divorce often must make difficult decisions about what items are most important to them. If spouses cannot agree as to how to divide property, as they often cannot, Florida law has provisions to divide the marital property between the parties.
Sometimes, an unscrupulous spouse will try and hide assets in order to keep them from being included in the property divided by the court. The assets that could potentially be hidden include things like family heirlooms, jewelry, valuable collectibles, or even bank accounts or other investment accounts. Fortunately, there are certain ways that an experienced family law attorney can help ensure that the court accounts for all marital assets and that you receive the share to which you are entitled.
Ways to Uncover Hidden Assets
Different kinds of assets may be hidden in different ways, so performing a thorough investigation is important when there is any suspicion that a spouse has attempted to conceal assets. One of the more common situations in which a spouse will attempt to conceal assets is one in which an extramarital affair has been occurring. Attempting to conceal assets can also occur in cases in which a married couple has accumulated significant wealth. People with a high-net worth often have sophisticated financial services and investments that allow them to easily move assets from place to place and potentially conceal them.
The following are some ways that spouses commonly try to hide assets:
- Transferring money to secret individuals or off-shore accounts;
- Transferring money to friends or other family members;
- Using debit cards for cash withdrawals at the time of purchase;
- Underreporting income for tax purposes or overpaying the IRS, while planning to receive a refund later;
- Making large purchases that may not be noticed;
- Asking an employer to delay raises or commission payments; and
- Changing the names on stocks and investments.
If you believe divorce is impending, you should always stay as informed as possible regarding your financial situation so you can recognize if your spouse is hiding assets. Make sure you stay aware of your spouse’s salary, keep track of all bank and credit card records and match them with receipts for purchases, pay attention to any odd withdrawals, check the status of stocks, and more.
If you suspect that assets have been hidden, an experienced divorce attorney can use depositions, subpoenas of records, financial experts, and other tools in order to uncover that money or property. Uncovering any hidden assets can help make sure that you are awarded the full settlement amount and support that you deserve.
Alan R. Burton is a highly skilled divorce attorney who provides only the highest quality of representation in divorces and all family law matters. If you are facing divorce, Mr. Burton can advise you on steps to take to protect your rights and interests through the divorce process. Call our office today for help.
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