Divorces are, without a doubt, highly emotional experiences. After all, no one gets married with the hope to one day part ways. However, in addition to the emotional aspect of it, divorce involves a great amount of financial matters and, in some cases, suspicious spouses might choose a divorce attorney with greater experience in analyzing financial information and access to forensic accountants who often work to uncover assets and provide expert testimony.
The fact is that, in most marriages, it is not uncommon for one spouse to take hold of the financial reins and manage the household’s money. Unfortunately, this leaves one spouse at an immense disadvantage when it comes to knowledge of their financial health and assets as a couple. This inequity of knowledge makes it easy for the managing spouse to hide assets or understate income to reduce child or spousal support payments.
Why would a spouse hide assets? If the other spouse does not know about it and if it is hidden from the court, then it cannot be divided. Even if a spouse were to learn about the hidden assets later on, it would be too late, since the asset might have been sold or consumed. In some circumstances, it might be worthwhile to reopen a divorce case, but the best thing you can do is to simply hire effective legal support that will discover all hidden assets, saving you time and money.
Many types of assets can be hidden in several different ways. The most common assets spouses hide include cash, bonds, insurance policies, stocks, and annuities, some of which can easily be converted into cash to purchase luxury items. There are elaborate ways of hiding such assets, such as offshore accounts, but one can also give them to a friend or family member to hold until the divorce is finalized. Employees might also ask employers to postpone raises, bonuses, or business contracts until after the divorce in an effort to keep it out of a divorce settlement. All of these actions, if discovered, will lead to a reduced settlement for the dishonest spouse.
Finding the Hidden Assets
Divorce attorneys who are experienced in handling cases that involve hidden assets or property will often work closely with forensic accountants. Their role is to comb through a couple’s finances, which might also include asking about the other spouse’s spending habits, or requesting contact information for family members in case transfers have been made to them to shield assets. A forensic accountant will also review tax returns, especially the information within a W2 form, which can indicate if a spouse has deferred any compensation plans or executive benefits.
Additionally, a forensic accountant will likely search through public records to analyze property deeds or other pertinent records. This research would be able to reveal if a spouse transferred property to a family member, which is often a red flag for asset concealment. It might also be able to reveal liens, judgments or bankruptcy.
Divorce Attorney in New Jersey
When it comes to the divorce process, one of the most stressful and contentious matters is the division of assets. Whether you are afraid your spouse might be hiding assets or you have your heart set on a particular piece of property, hiring a Morris County divorce attorney to represent you is the wisest decision you can make during this time. At O’Sullivan Law Group, we are committed to assisting clients in accurately valuating and equitably dividing all marital assets. Through mediation, negotiation, and litigation, our New Jersey legal team is able to protect you at all stages of the divorce process.
Backed by over 20 years of experience in handling complex asset division cases, we understand the importance of holding onto certain valued assets and ensuring your spouse does not take more than what is fair.
To get started on your case, call us today at (973) 947-8699 to schedule a free initial consultation. You should not have to go through this alone.