One of the first things that you and your spouse will be required to do once a divorce is filed is complete a financial disclosure. This disclosure lists all of your shared assets, your current income amount, and anything else pertaining to your marital finances. The disclosures are necessary to help the judge decide what division is fair in the event that the couple cannot come to an agreement. Once the divorce process is initiated, neither spouse fully trusts each other making disclosures, but in spite of the serious consequences for lying on a legal document, some partners still attempt to hide assets. If you believe that your spouse has provided an incomplete disclosure, there are three places to look for hidden assets that may help you discover whether or not your spouse is being dishonest.
Immediately before a divorce is filed a spouse may open bank accounts in the names of children from a previous relationship or your mutual children. In some cases, your spouse may simply begin using accounts that were already open but never funded. Check to see if these bank accounts for minors have suddenly been funded by your spouse or someone he or she knows. Talk to your attorney about your suspicions because if your spouse uses a kid-friendly pre-paid account, it could be difficult for you to discover that one exists or its current balance on your own.
Debts to Family and Business Partners
Has your spouse suddenly revealed the existence of several debts to family, friends, or business partners? Unless these were debts that you were aware of, it is possible that your spouse is trying to hide assets. By submitting debts during the divorce process, your spouse ensures that your joint assets will be used to pay them off. If the debt involved is fraudulent, once the divorce is finalized, your spouse may simply have the fake creditor transfer the funds back to him or her. An accountant who specializes in divorce can verify that the loan existed by getting the history of the debt and validity of the repayment request.
Certain assets such as artwork, antiques, furniture, and jewelry can be difficult to adequately value. Unlike real estate, it is not easy to search online or quickly hire an appraiser to determine how much the property is probably worth. A spouse may attempt to reduce the value of certain assets and offer to give the spouse his or her half of the item’s supposed value in cash. After the divorce is finalized, the spouse who physically possesses the property can sell it for the true value. Obtaining an appraisal of all potentially valuable assets during the divorce process is one way to protect yourself from a dishonest spouse.
Protect Your Rights
Splitting property during a divorce is often time consuming and contentious. Each spouse wants to be sure that he or she receives a fair amount of the property and money invested into the marriage over the years. The division of property attorneys at Vayman & Teitelbaum are prepared to help you secure your rights and receive the percentage of marital assets that you deserve. Contact us today by calling 678-736-7700 to schedule a consultation at one of our four Atlanta metro area locations.