Unfortunately, divorce tends to bring out the worst in those who once pledged to love one another. This can include stashing valuable assets to avoid having to share them in a property settlement.
This is an illegal practice, but one must first get caught before facing any consequences. Some may take that risk. One way to pull the rug out from under a spouse suspected of hiding assets is to hire a forensic accountant to go over the finances and documents with a fine-tooth comb. But it can be quite an expense.
A cheaper option is to become your own private investigator. This often involves comparing any voluntary asset disclosures with known errors and omissions. When disputes arise, you or your attorney have the right to inspect assets and property and arrange independent appraisals.
You also have the right to make a formal demand for involuntary disclosures through requests for production of documents and interrogatories during the discovery phase of the divorce. Your soon-to-be-ex has a limited amount of time to truthfully answer and produce what is requested. A good place to start is by asking for banking records, titles to property, trusts and other estate documents, income tax returns and any liens on or against properties.
Depositions are often quite illuminating as well. Taken under oath, with attorneys and a court reporter present, the person being deposed goes on the record about their assets. The deposition can later be introduced in court if the case doesn’t settle amicably.
If you have concerns about hidden assets in your divorce, discuss them with your West Palm Beach family law attorney as soon as is practical.
Source: FindLaw, “Tips for Finding Hidden Assets in a Divorce,” Christopher Coble, accessed Dec. 15, 2017