Divorces are painful experiences. Even when they are amicable, nobody wants to go through one. They are emotional events that can bring out the worst in people. Sometimes people are hurt by their spouse’s decision to divorce. They are often blindsided by divorce papers. Some spouses go as far as to actually hide assets in the divorce as a form of revenge.
Of course, this is not fair to the other spouse, as all assets are split equitably in a Michigan divorce. Also, it is illegal. A person caught hiding assets is in contempt of court, which could mean fines and jail time as punishment.
Any assets could be hidden in a divorce, but the most common ones are restricted stock units, cryptocurrency, pensions, and military benefits. Hidden assets can involve fraud and legal loopholes. For example, cash is often hidden by money laundering. Sometimes a spouse will “loan” an asset to a friend or family member during the divorce proceedings and then get it back once everything has been finalized. As you can see, people will often go to great lengths to hide an asset.
Hidden assets can be hard to find, but they are not impossible. Your lawyer can help uncover hidden assets through a variety of sources, such as the following.
A spouse may try to fudge tax returns to suit their needs. Go back several years, and you may find income inconsistencies such as business partnerships or even real estate.
An accountant can assess the cash flow of the accounts and trace all the money that went in and out of the accounts. This method can help uncover hidden assets. Deposits and withdrawals may also reveal unusual activity.
The courthouse is a good place to get proof of hidden marital assets. For example, if your spouse ever borrowed money, the records will be filed there. The loan application will also contain a list of assets they own, which may give you a good idea as to the assets they have.
Your Spouse’s Boss
Your spouse’s boss may be holding off on promotions and bonuses until after the divorce. This can also include stock options and pay raises. You will have difficulty asking for your share later, so ask your lawyer to subpoena your spouse’s boss and get the lowdown on any financial deals they may have made.
Your Spouse’s Friends and Family Members
A friend or family member of your spouse may help them hide assets during the divorce. One common ruse is to create fake debts that will suddenly be paid back when the divorce is finalized. These friends and family members may also be hiding other assets, such as collections or heirlooms, until that time.
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All assets need to be accounted for in a divorce. Otherwise, a spouse does not get their fair share.