Hiding Assets During Divorce
During the initial stages of a divorce, emotional stress levels are high, and the focus is on custody and visitation rights. Thinking about what assets exist or the value of each asset may be the last thing on a person's mind. Yet, if you're thinking about a divorce, it's very important to protect your assets by having knowledge of what assets exist and to financially plan ahead.
To complicate matters, often the income earning spouse attempts to hide assets. It could be that this effort has been ongoing over many years. This occurs because most couples have such complicated and diverse financial portfolios that a few hidden accounts here and there seem not such a big deal – but it really is. While there is nothing illegal about a spouse hiding or otherwise dissipating assets, it can have significant implications in a divorce case. For both parties, it usually means that substantial additional attorney's fees will be incurred on the efforts focused on finding the hidden money. It can also mean additional funds spent on experts such as forensic accountants. Sadly, more money is usually spent on legal fees trying to prove the dissipation of assets then may have actually been dissipation. To add fuel to this problem is the mistrust that divorcing spouses have for each other. In the end, both parties pay the price.
On the other side, if a party proves their spouse has in fact hidden assets, it can mean a huge success in the ultimate division of assets. This occurs because the trial judge will subscribe to the theory that if a spouse has hidden assets, the trial court has no idea to what extent, and in its “equitable division” of the known assets, the spouse with the “clean hands” will often fair extremely well.
Finding hidden assets or income of one divorcing spouse is a process known as “discovery.” It can and usually is the most expensive part of the process. Planning ahead and knowing what assets exist is the key to minimizing litigation costs in a divorce.
To help you better survive the challenges, one of the most important steps is securing the counsel of a highly qualified and competent divorce lawyer. If you or someone you know is considering divorce, contact one of Mirabella, Kincaid, Frederick & Mirabella, LLC's knowledgeable and dedicated family law attorneys today.
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