One of the first steps in the divorce process is for each spouse to provide a financial disclosure which lists their income, assets, and debts. Each spouse and their respective attorneys classify each item as individual or marital property. This allows for the fair distribution of property, which is one of the largest sources of contention during a divorce.
However, divorce can bring out the ugly side of many people and some spouses may try to hide assets from their spouse so they can keep more of them after the divorce is finalized. In some marriages, there is one spouse who manages all the finances; this makes it easier for that spouse to hide assets since the other spouse may not even know that some assets exist. To find hidden assets, you will need to follow the trail of funds into and out of all of the accounts that you own and find where they are being moved. The trail could include low-tech options, such as hiding cash under the mattress or “forgetting” to divulge all their assets and accounts, to more sophisticated schemes like setting up shell businesses for money laundering. Depending on your situation, your attorney may recommend hiring a forensic accountant, which is a professional who specializes in locating hidden assets.
If the court finds that your spouse has hidden assets, they can face stiff penalties. In general, the courts in Florida divide assets roughly equitably. If your spouse hid assets, however, the courts may give you a greater share of the assets. Moreover, they also may be forced to pay your legal fees and fees for the forensic accountant.
On top of receiving an inequitable division of assets, your spouse may be found in contempt of court – meaning that they intentionally tried to obstruct justice. This carries both civil and criminal penalties that can range from a fine to jail time, although the likely outcome is a fine.
The final penalty they could face for hiding assets is being found guilty of perjury, which is when someone lies while under oath in court or written statements for the court. Similar to being found in contempt of court, the punishment for perjury ranges from fines to jail time, with the likely outcome being a fine.
After you divorce, you deserve a fair share of your marital assets. If you are thinking about filing for divorce or are already in the process and you believe your spouse may be hiding assets, call Troy Legal today. We will work assiduously to find and fight for every cent of marital assets that you are owed.
Troy Legal, P.A. was founded in 2009 and serves clients throughout South Florida. Troy Legal, P.A., specializes in Marital and Family Law, providing reputable legal services for prenuptial and co-habitation agreements, paternity cases, adoption matters, alimony and child support, time sharing and parenting plans, drafting of qualified domestic relations orders (qdros), mediation services, equitable distributions, collaborative law, post-judgement modification and enforcement, domestic violence cases, and dissolution of marriage or divorce. Troy Legal, P.A. is dedicated to serving clients through compassionate and aggressive representation, while upholding the highest degree of ethical standards.
Troy Legal, P.A. was founded in 2009 and serves clients throughout South Florida. Troy Legal, P.A., is dedicated to serving clients through compassionate and aggressive representation, while upholding the highest degree of ethical standards.This website is designed for general information only. The information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship.