Your Financial Documents May be Hiding Something: The Search for Hidden Assets in Florida Divorce
You know that divorce involves coming up with a fair and equitable division of assets.
In most cases this division is easy – though not necessarily painless – because both parties are forthcoming and transparent about their assets. Unfortunately in others, usually those cases that involve high net-worth clients, children from previous relationships, or highly combative couples, one party deliberately hides assets to avoid sharing with the soon-to-be ex-spouse.
Uncovering Hidden Assets
Every party to a divorce is required to make full financial disclosure of all their assets, both marital and separate. This information exchange is usually a formality, since both spouses already have full knowledge of all assets owned by the other.
But in some cases, whether done in anticipation of filing for divorce, or throughout the marriage for reasons known only to the that person, one spouse purposely puts money in secret accounts, or uses funds to purchase property in his sole name and without the other spouse’s knowledge. If the spouse who is hiding assets was also the one with the sole responsibility of managing the family finances, it makes it that much more difficult to uncover the hidden assets, because she has no idea of what was coming in and where it was being invested.
So what can you do to protect yourself from being cheated out of marital assets?
Request all financial documents. Don’t assume you know everything about you or your spouse’s marital and personal assets and agree to skip the information exchange. It’s always better to have the information and realize there is nothing hidden, then not have it and never know.
Review all financial documents. Requesting the information is not enough – you need to thoroughly review it as well. Bank, investment and credit card statements can all unveil hidden assets, if you know where to look. Checking and savings account statements may show deposits and transfers of funds that you never knew about, to accounts you are not a listed owner of. Credit card statements may show purchases that never appeared in the home. Investment statements may show the sale and purchase of stocks or mutual funds you were unaware of. Every transaction that you cannot identify should be thoroughly investigated.
Review all personal and business tax returns. Tax returns may show information on income (personal or business), capital gains, dividends property sold and bought, or other information that may reveal hidden assets.
Hire a forensic accountant. Forensic accountants are CPAs trained to investigate and uncover fraud in financial accounting. A trained forensic accountant is often able to find areas of concern that may indicate hidden assets, and in some cases can help you uncover the location of these assets.
Boca Raton Divorce Attorneys Helping You Get an Equitable Division
You cannot get a fair and equitable division of assets if you don’t have all the financial information at hand. The Boca Raton division of assets attorney at Schwartz l White can help you get that information. Drawing on more than 50 years’ combined experience handling divorce and division of asset cases in Boca Raton and the surrounding area, our attorneys have helped thousands of people get a fair and equitable division of their marital assets. Contact our office today at 561.391.9943 to schedule your free initial consultation.