Finding Hidden Assets In A Divorce
Divorce rarely brings out the best in people. Even when you feel you can trust your spouse, you may be surprised to learn that they have been trying to hide or conceal assets in order to keep a larger share of the assets that you have accumulated together while married. Florida is an equitable distribution state, which means that all community property is divided equitably between both spouses. What constitutes an equitable share is determined by the court based on a number of factors. However, if you do not have accurate and complete knowledge of your shared assets, it’s impossible to know whether your divorce settlement was truly equitable. For this reason, it’s important to do your research and perform appropriate due diligence prior to entering negotiations or starting to discuss asset distribution.
How to Uncover Hidden Assets in a Divorce
As a matter of due diligence, it’s important to put all financial information of both spouses on the table before any negotiations begin. Both parties should be required to produce extensive financial documents, including W-2s, tax returns, pay stubs, bank statements, retirement and investment account statements, insurance policies, credit reports, mortgage and loan documents, and a complete and itemized list of all debts, liabilities, and personal property. Once you have all of this information, it’s important to conduct a thorough review to look for any inconsistencies. If certain things are not lining up, you should consult with an attorney or hire a forensic accountant to make sure that everything is above board and uncover any discrepancies. You should also do a deep dive on each of the financial documents provided. Review the bank statements for any unusual transactions, such as recurrent ATM withdrawals, cash transfers to other accounts, people, or companies (they may have created a secret corporation or LLC in their name), or large purchases, which could all be ways of sneaking money and assets out of their account. You should also review the credit report to make sure that they have not taken out any loans or opened credit cards using your name that you are not aware of. If there is any indication that your spouse has been concealing assets, misrepresenting assets, or committing fraud, you should not proceed with collaborative divorce or mediation. Rather, it is best to have a court sort out what assets are truly available and how to equitably distribute them. While mediation and collaborative divorce is generally preferable, they can also be ways for a manipulative spouse who is hiding assets to continue to conceal them from you and take advantage of the lower bar for evidentiary review. They may be less willing to try and conceal assets in a court of law where there are penalties for doing so and a more thorough investigation.
Contact the Greater Orlando Family Law Firm
If you are going through a divorce and want to make sure that your divorce settlement is truly equitable, it’s important to have an experienced legal advocate on your side. Contact the experienced Orlando divorce attorneys at the Greater Orlando Family Law Firm today to schedule a consultation.