In a Michigan divorce, both parties are required to provide detailed information about assets and liability for the purpose of property division. Yet, as an article in Forbes explains, sometimes one spouse will try to hide assets, and there are serious consequences. While that article discusses the legal consequences for the spouse who is attempting to hide assets, it is important to remember that there are also consequences for the other spouse if those assets remain hidden.
As part of your divorce under Michigan law (MCL 552.6), all marital property will be divided in a manner that is fair or equitable to both parties. Yet an equitable distribution of marital property cannot occur if some of that property is hidden. The following are some tips to help you prevent your spouse from hiding assets in your divorce.
File for Divorce First and Gather Documents
If you have not yet filed for divorce (and your spouse has not either), you should take some time to gather information about all marital assets and debts. This means scanning invoices and receipts, business documents, tax returns, account statements, paycheck stubs, and details about any other property that may be classified as marital property.
When one spouse is concerned about the other party attempting to hide assets, that spouse often can obtain necessary information prior to filing for divorce.
Make Copies of All Financial Information
Even if you or your spouse already filed for divorce and the element of surprise is no longer possible to allow you to gather important financial documents, you may still be able to obtain copies of yours and your spouse’s financial materials. If you are a joint account holder on any accounts, you can seek detailed information about those accounts. Even if you cannot get copies of financial documents, you should keep a list of any property that you believe should be classified as marital property and distributed. Your Michigan divorce lawyer can help you to get the information you need.
Work with a Forensic Accountant
Even if you do not have copies of all financial documents, like we mentioned above, simply knowing that particular assets exist can allow a forensic accountant to search for them and, in many cases, to find the evidence you need for your divorce case.
Even if you are not aware of particular assets, a forensic accountant still might be able to locate them. This is particularly common in situations where one spouse manages the finances for the marriage and the other spouse plays a largely domestic role at home. It is in these cases that it is especially important to ensure that the non-breadwinner spouse gets a fair share of all marital property.
Contact a Michigan Divorce Attorney
Michigan divorces can be extremely complicated, especially when there are concerns that one spouse is hiding assets. A Michigan divorce attorney can assist with your situation. Contact the Law Office of Michael A. Robbins to learn more about how we may be able to help with your case.