Sometimes, divorces get ugly, as we all know. The most common way that spouses try to hurt each other during divorce, aside from arguing over their children, is to attempt to gain the upper hand in terms of property distribution by any means necessary—including the hiding of assets. If you suspect your spouse of hiding assets, there are multiple methods that can be used to help uncover the wrongdoing, either on your own or with professional help.
Methods for Your Lawyer
In a divorce, your attorney is your primary resource if you suspect your spouse has committed a financial misdeed. There are multiple legal documents used during the civil process of divorce, especially during discovery, in which a party is bound by law to tell the truth, and they must do so in very specific ways, providing very specific information. Both parties are bound to comply with any discovery request that the court deems reasonable, which will usually be most of them.
If your attorney tailors their discovery requests appropriately, you can request significant amounts of information from your spouse. Written interrogatories, for example, are commonly used during discovery where a party will be asked to answer questions or confirm or deny a given statement. Another common tool is inspections. Either party may inspect assets like collections or safety deposit boxes at any time in most divorce cases, and the inspection may or may not turn up information pointing to deception or other property-related wrongdoings. Depositions of your spouse or of relevant financial professionals can also shed light on potential issues, though in many situations, discovery depositions cannot be used at trial.
Methods Involving Outside Professionals
If you believe there has been asset misappropriation on a larger scale, you may want to call in professional help, such as a forensic accountant. A forensic accountant is a financial professional who is also versed in how to spot potential fraud or other financial-related crimes. They have the capability to investigate asset transfers and other potentially unethical behavior, especially if there is a family business involved.
Forensic accountants and CPAs can also work hand in hand with other professionals like business valuation experts and tax lawyers. The key to discovering hidden assets is to search for patterns, and different financial experts may be well suited to identify different patterns. It may seem excessive to hire outside help, but sometimes a financial puzzle is so complex that a larger team is needed.
Consult a Knowledgeable Attorney
If you suspect your spouse of hiding assets that may be yours by right, your first step is to speak to a good attorney. Contact an experienced Wheaton property division lawyer to get the help you need today. Call 630-871-1002 for a free, no-obligation consultation at any of our three convenient locations.