The end of a marriage can be an emotional and challenging experience for everyone. However, the stress can be heightened when you find out that a spouse hides assets during a divorce. This not only poses a financial threat but also adds emotional strain if deception is uncovered.
Hidden assets might include undisclosed bank accounts, investments, real estate, and luxury items acquired secretly. Identifying hidden assets requires thorough investigation and legal acumen. While this can make the divorce process more complex, detecting concealed assets could ensure proper division.
Is it illegal to hide assets during a divorce?
It is illegal to hide assets during a divorce. In divorce proceedings, both parties are legally required to disclose all their assets and liabilities fully and truthfully. This disclosure is crucial for the equitable division of property and to ensure a fair settlement.
Concealing assets during a divorce skews the fairness of a settlement. Without knowledge of a spouse's assets, one spouse might unfairly benefit. It's often considered fraudulent and a violation of the law.
Such actions can lead to legal consequences, including the court penalizing the offending party by awarding a larger share of the assets to the other spouse. Additionally, it can result in criminal charges such as perjury, fraud, or contempt of court.
How do I find out where a spouse hides assets during a divorce?
Finding hidden assets during a divorce can be a challenging process, but there are several investigative strategies that can uncover hidden assets. The key ones include:
Examining tax returns
Tax returns are windows into your spouse's financial activities. They can reveal incomes, investments, or property that might have been acquired without your knowledge. Discrepancies between reported income and expenses or unaccounted funds in bank statements could hint at hidden assets or income.
If you don't already have access to the tax returns, you can request copies. If your spouse refuses to provide them, your attorney can issue a subpoena to obtain them.
Scrutinizing bank accounts
Bank statements can reveal unusual money transfers or spending patterns, suggesting hidden assets or undisclosed income. Large, irregular deposits or withdrawals, or accounts at different institutions, might indicate attempts to conceal funds.
Through your attorney, you can request copies of all bank statements and records. If your spouse isn't forthcoming, these can be subpoenaed during the discovery phase.
Inquiring among your spouse’s network
Colleagues, employers, friends, and family of your spouse might have insights into undisclosed financial dealings. While direct confrontation isn't the best course of action, an attorney can explore these avenues for potential leads.
Reviewing business records
For spouses involved in business ventures, examining business records can reveal hidden assets. Unreported investments, profits, or losses may point to financial manipulation intended to obscure true asset values.
During the divorce process, you have the right to request various business-related documents. These can include tax returns, profit and loss statements, balance sheets, bank statements, payroll records, invoices, receipts, and business contracts. If you experience any challenges obtaining these documents, a divorce attorney can take steps to help.
Consult Tax Assessor’s Office
Property records from the tax assessor’s office can uncover hidden real estate investments. Ownership records may reveal properties bought secretly, and mortgage records could indicate additional income sources not reported in joint tax returns.
Approaching this task with an experienced divorce attorney can streamline the process, bringing to light any concealed assets and ensuring they are factored into the divorce settlement. This level of diligence is crucial for protecting financial interests and achieving a fair resolution in the divorce process.
When to contact a divorce lawyer
Do you suspect that your spouse is hiding assets during a divorce? Reach out to the legal team at Hocker Law, LLC for help. Our experienced attorneys understand the challenges of handling a divorce alone. We're committed to ensuring that our clients are treated fairly within the legal system.
Before finalizing your divorce, contact us online or call our Indiana law offices for a free consultation. We'll be glad to learn more about your situation, offer legal guidance, and answer any questions you have regarding your divorce.