Financial issues tend to concern many people when beginning an action for divorce. Often times, one spouse believes that the other is not being honest regarding income and may be attempting to hide certain funds. Under Georgia law, when a divorce action is initiated, each party is required to complete a Domestic Relations Financial Affidavit (DRFA). After completion, the affidavit must be filed with the court as well as served on the opposing party. As you can see, the purpose of this affidavit is to ensure that each party and the court is fully aware of the assets and income of both spouses.
Despite these procedures, it is still common for a party to attempt to hide certain sources of income in order to reduce potential child support, alimony, or to hide assets that would otherwise be subject to an equitable division. There are therefore, a couple of ways in which your divorce attorney can help ensure that these assets are disclosed.
Often times, parties may hire a forensic accountant or or other financial expert in order discover funds and their value. However, these experts will charge a fee. Although it may be necessary in some instances, such as high asset divorces, the amount paid can add up quickly.
Request for Tax Returns
During discovery, a party can request for the other to produce recent tax returns. This option is much less costly than expert assistance. Since a tax return is filed with the federal and state governments, an individual will be liable for any false information stated. Therefore, a tax return can be considered an accurate and complete picture of a party’s financial situation. Certain sections of a tax return will help assist you in this process.
Schedule B requires a taxpayer to detail the mutual funds, brokerage companies, banks and other sources of dividends and interest. This section also requires the party to answer questions related to the existence of banks and financial accounts in foreign countries or foreign trust transactions.
Next, Schedule D requires the taxpayer to disclose capital gains and losses from the sale of fund shares, individual stocks, and other financial assets.
Lastly, Schedule E details income and if any, losses, from rental real estate, royalties, partnerships, S corporations, and trusts and estates. Not only will this detail financial amount, but it also requires the party to list the type and location of any real estate that produces income.
With the above information generated from the tax return, certain requests for discovery can then be made that you otherwise would not have known to make. For instance, a party can request information regarding when these assets were acquired and what funds were used towards the purchase.
If you believe that your spouse is keeping marital funds hidden from you, please contact the experienced attorneys at Vayman & Teitelbaum. Our attorneys will provide an in depth discovery of all financial assets to ensure that you and the court are properly aware of your spouse’s total financial picture.