What if Your Spouse is Hiding Assets?
All divorce matters require the division of assets and debts. Both spouses are required to be completely forthcoming concerning their finances. The assets generally fall into two categories: community property or separate. A third possible category is when the assets are partially commingled which means that marital assets were used in support of a “separate property” asset. Separate assets must be disclosed because they can be relevant when determining issues such as alimony and child support. These are complex financial issues.
Some divorcing spouses think they can protect certain assets by hiding them from the divorce process. Hiding assets in a divorce may be unscrupulous and illegal, but it happens nonetheless. And there are countless ways a marital asset may be hidden. Consulting with one or more seasoned divorce lawyers in Las Vegas is the best way to get your proper share. Learn below about what may happen if you suspect that your spouse is hiding assets in your divorce.
Locating Hidden Assets
When you are going through the divorce process, our divorce attorneys do not take your spouse at their word when it comes to financial disclosures. Your spouse must produce copies of all financial records, including documents pertaining to stocks, corporate ownership, business ownership, bank accounts, real estate, and other assets. If our divorce lawyers have any reason to suspect there may be any other assets, they will request additional documents using legal discovery requests, such as the following:
- Requests for Production of Documents, such as tax returns, financial statements, accounting reports, etc.
- Interrogatories or Requests for Admission to answer specific questions.
- Inspection Demands, for property like safety deposit boxes, storage units, commercial properties, etc.
- Depositions, where your spouse will be required to speak under oath and answer questions posed by your lawyer.
If your spouse is likely to have more complex hidden assets such as foreign bank accounts, our divorce lawyers may bring in experts such as forensic accountants, actuaries, and investigators to sweep through your spouse’s finances and possibly identify anything not yet disclosed.
Consequences for Hiding Assets
If your spouse is hiding assets during a divorce, they might be subject to strict penalties. Financial certifications, deposition testimony, and other official court responses are made under oath. That means that lying is a form of criminal perjury. While a court is unlikely to seek criminal charges for one or two mistakes, if a party is consistently and intentionally hiding important assets, the court could indeed look to such severe measures. The court might also hold a party in contempt of court for failing to comply with a court order. In any case, a spouse found to be hiding assets is generally subject to heavy fines and financial penalties.
Additionally, a court may impose penalties on a party who hides assets by ruling in favor of the other spouse on financial matters relating to the divorce. In one extreme example, a woman won a $6 million state lottery jackpot shortly before divorcing her husband. She hid the lottery win from her husband and the court. When the court discovered the hidden assets, the court ordered the woman to turn over the entire lottery jackpot to her spouse in the divorce.
Help With Your Nevada Divorce
Our experienced divorce lawyers in Las Vegas are prepared to help you resolve all issues relating to your divorce proceeding, including identification of any hidden assets, property distribution, child custody, alimony, and others. Jennifer V. Abrams and Vincent Mayo offer courtesy phone consultations at no charge for all marital law issues. Call 702-222-4021 to speak with one of them about your important concerns.
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