Hiding Marital Assets In A Florida Divorce
As part of the equitable division of marital property that happens when a couple goes through a divorce in Florida, each spouse has to make a financial disclosure of all assets. Some people do not always want to cooperate with this disclosure or to share all their assets with their soon to be ex-spouse. These people therefore try to hide assets in order to avoid the other spouse having a share of those assets.
Hiding assets in a divorce is not unheard of, and there are ways in which a person can prove the other spouse is hiding assets. The spouse who suspects the other spouse is hiding assets may hire an attorney who can comb through all the financial disclosures and bank statements to look for signs of hidden assets. Other legal tools, for example, interrogatories and subpoenas can also be used to get as much information as possible. In some cases, the use of a private investigator or a forensic accountant may be required.
If a spouse tries to hide assets by gifting other people assets that should rightly be considered marital property, this evidence can also be presented to the court deciding how the marital property will be divided. Transfers of large sums of money to other people or making large withdrawals of case from joint accounts right before a spouse files for divorce can be signs of a person trying to hide assets. Especially if it be shown that these people will be expected to give the money or property back once the divorce is finalized.
The hiding of assets is not a criminal offense; however, it can lead to a person being held in criminal and civil contempt of court. This could lead to jail time as well as a monetary fine. If the court is convinced that a spouse is hiding assets, the court can divide the marital assets in a way that accounts for the hidden assets and gives the non-hiding spouse more assets. Therefore, the spouse who is hiding assets could get considerably less than he would have if he had been honest. The court can also order the spouse to pay all attorneys’ fees and the costs associated with investigation to find the hidden assets.
In order to avoid the a spouse taking steps to hide assets, a spouse can petition for an injunction that stops the other spouse from selling, transferring or otherwise hiding assets that should be divided as marital property. While the injunction would not necessarily stop a spouse who is determined to hide assets, it can be a way to later ask the court to take action against the spouse for violating the order.
Contact Us for Legal Assistance
The division of property in a divorce can be a complicated process, especially if you are in a high conflict divorce and your spouse is trying to hide assets. You need an experienced attorney to handle this very important aspect of your divorce to avoid getting less than you legally should. Contact an experienced Boca Raton, Florida divorce attorney at Law Offices of Schwartz l White for a consultation.