In most divorces, both spouses manage some level of cooperation to reach the terms of their divorce and move on with their lives. Other times, however, the spouses can be in heated contention with one another about the end of their marriage. When this happens, terms of the divorce must be fought for and some spouses may do unsavory things to try and leverage process in their favor. A common way this is done is for one spouse, usually the "breadwinner" spouse, to hide assets in an attempt to shield them from the property division process.
HOW TO FIND HIDDEN ASSETS
Just like in a criminal trial, there is a "discovery" process in a divorce proceeding in which each spouse gives the other information on all the marital property they have that should be considered during the property division process. Sometimes, a spouse will know that the other is not being forthcoming during the discovery phase. Other times they can't be sure, but have a healthy suspicion that something is amiss.
A knowledgeable Sugar Land divorce attorney, however, can help ensure that the discovery process is thorough as possible. Evaluating your spouse's assets isn't just checking bank accounts—it can be a whole body of evidence made up of different documents and records.
Here's what should be asked for during discovery:
- Tax returns (1040, refunds, etc.)
- Financial statements (such as credit card statements)
- Loan applications
- Bank statements
- Other relevant documentation (sizable receipts, canceled checks, etc.)
WHAT IF THERE ARE STILL MISSING ASSETS?
If your spouse has turned over everything he or she says they have in accordance with the discovery request and you still believe there to be hidden assets, then it may be time to turn to a forensic accountant. A forensic accountant can evaluate the financial information that has been surrendered in the discovery process and trace the flow of cash and other assets and determine whether or not the spouse is being as transparent as they say they are.
If you are concerned about the division of assets in your divorce, then retaining aggressive and resourceful counsel is key. At the Audu Law Firm, Attorney Lilian Audu understands how crucial it is that marital property is fairly divided during a divorce. Clients that have concerns about hidden assets can not only count on a thorough discovery process but access to a forensic accountant who can help ensure the proper division of assets.
Ready to start taking a proactive approach to your divorce? Our firm is ready to hear your story. Call us today.