In Focus: Hidden Assets in a Divorce
As many can attest, going through a divorce is complicated and can become more difficult if the proceedings become contentious. At times, disputes over spousal maintenance and child support may arise. In some cases, particularly in high asset divorces, spouses may try to hide assets from each other or the court. Not only do such tactics add to the acrimony, concealing assets during a divorce is unlawful.
How will I know if my spouse is concealing assets during a divorce?
The surest way to uncover hidden assets in a divorce is to enlist the services of a qualified divorce attorney. By collaborating with a network of financial professionals, including forensic accountants, it is possible to uncover hidden assets such as investments, savings accounts, or offshore accounts and trace large money transfers. Your legal team can also conduct an analysis of income tax returns to determine whether your spouse is attempting to hide income, interest and stock dividends.
While a capable divorce attorney can take legal measures to uncover hidden assets, there are steps you can take as well. Today, many financial transactions are undertaken via the internet. By viewing the web browser or a computer or smartphone, you can determine which banking and financial sites your spouse has visited. Also, review bank account statements and transaction histories — money being transferred out of and into accounts is usually a sign that someone is attempting to conceal assets.
Moreover, social media platforms can provide clues about money a spouse claims not to have to make support payments. In particular, you should look for posts on Facebook, Instagram and other social media sites for comments or pictures about expensive purchases or vacations. It is worth noting that social media posts and other forms of electronic communication can be used as evidence in a divorce proceeding.
Additionally, retirement accounts such as 401(k)s and pensions are considered to be marital property that are subject to equitable distribution under Florida law. At times, a spouse may claim not to have such benefits through his or her employer. You can easily check the company’s website to determine whether or not these and other benefits are offered.
At the end of the day, getting through a divorce and trying to uncover hidden assets can be a daunting task. An experienced attorney can take the necessary legal measures to uncover any hidden assets, however, present this evidence to the court, and make sure your interests are protected. Blair H. Chan, III, PLLC is a highly regarded divorce attorney serving clients in the Tampa Bay area.