When spouses can’t agree on how to divide their assets in a divorce, the court will intervene and give directions. Usually, state laws will steer the conversation and determine what each party will end up with if there is no binding agreement to that effect, like a prenup.
When dividing the marital estate, every party is legally obligated to be forthcoming with their financial details to ensure a fair division. However, it’s not always the case. Your spouse may fail to disclose to the court the existence of a certain asset or property that is part of the marital estate. As such, you will end up short-changed after the divorce is settled.
Where should you look?
In the months or weeks leading up to the divorce, it is advisable to have a clear picture of all the assets you have interests in. That way, you will notice if something does not add up. Otherwise, poring through financial documents such as income tax returns, bank and credit card statements or business records can help uncover hidden assets.
Sometimes, your spouse may go to great lengths when hiding their financial information, such as undervaluing assets, having secret bank accounts or carrying out complex transactions. In such a case, you may need to rope in a forensic accountant to unearth that.
What can you do about it?
Hiding assets during divorce proceedings is against the law. Therefore, you should bring it to the court’s attention if you notice that your spouse has left out something important or they are dishonest. The judge will take action, including holding them in contempt of court or awarding you ownership of the asset in question.
When settling a divorce in court, it is advisable that you get legal assistance as early as possible. It will ensure you are well prepared to deal with such challenges and get what you deserve.