Financial issues in Michigan divorces can lead to significant acrimony between spouses, even when the parties are forthcoming with one another about all property owned and acquired prior to and during the divorce. When one spouse attempts to conceal assets during a divorce case, there can be serious consequences. If you are wondering whether concealing assets during a divorce is illegal, it is critical to know that this behavior is in fact unlawful and can result in significant penalties under Michigan law. Our Michigan divorce lawyers will explain in more detail.
Disclosing Assets is Required by Law
When spouses are getting divorced in Michigan, whether or not to disclose all of your assets is not an option that you can exercise under Michigan law. State law in Michigan—as in other U.S. states—requires both spouses to disclose information about all assets before the divorce case can move forward.
Providing Information About Separate and Marital Assets and Debts During the Divorce
What do we mean when we say that you must disclose all assets under Michigan law? Michigan law requires both spouses to provide information about all property—assets and debts—that they acquired prior to and during the marriage as part of the divorce case. This means that each spouse must list all debts and assets that they own, along with information that can allow the court to determine whether those assets and debts should be classified as separate property (and not subject to distribution in the divorce) or as marital property (and subject to distribution in the divorce).
All assets classified as marital property—which is most assets acquired after the date of the marriage—will be divided according to the rule of “equitable distribution.” The rule of equitable distribution requires the court to consider a variety of factors to determine what kind of property distribution between the spouses would be fair given the specific circumstances surrounding their marriage and divorce. Property division is decided on a case-by-case basis. Yet the court cannot divide property equitably if it does not know about all marital property.
Penalties for Concealing Assets in a Michigan Divorce
If one spouse does conceal marital property in an attempt to prevent it from being divided in the divorce, that spouse can face serious consequences. The court can hold the concealing spouse in contempt of court, and all of those hidden assets can be awarded to the other spouse. If the other spouse needs to hire a forensic accountant to track down the assets, the concealing spouse can also be responsible for associated costs and losses, as well as attorney’s fees.
Learn More from Out Michigan Divorce Attorneys
If you have concerns about hidden or concealed assets in your divorce, it is essential to seek advice from an experienced Michigan divorce attorney who can assist you. Our firm can discuss options such as adding a forensic accountant to your divorce team to track down hidden assets to ensure that you are treated fairly in your divorce case. Contact the Law Offices of Michael A. Robbins for more information about handling concealed assets in your Michigan divorce.