A divorce in Michigan requires an equitable division of assets, but sometimes a soon-to-be ex-spouse will try to hide assets so less money can be considered in the dividing of assets. Michigan law says that an equitable division of the marital assets may not mean an equal division of assets. Assets obtained during a marriage are generally part of the marital property unless there was a prenuptial agreement saying otherwise. The hiding of assets in divorce proceedings is illegal and can lead to charges of fraud or other harsh penalties. Even if your divorce is amicable, this can still be happening to you. The best policy for spouses involved in a divorce case is to be honest in disclosing all of their assets and debts. That means that it is not up to a spouse to decide which of their assets is a marital asset. All assets should be disclosed to avoid even the appearance of deceit. Of course a full discussion with an experienced divorce attorney should always be the first step in this process.
Common Ways To Hide Assets
Some of the ways a spouse can hide assets are more noticeable than others. If someone isn’t at all involved in their spouse’s finances, it can be much more difficult to know if assets are being hidden.
It is common to divert money into an account not overseen by the other spouse. If you know how much money is normally put into an account and that amount changes, it could be easy to catch this deception. However, bonuses, deferred income, stock options or other perks that are not normally occurring can easily be hidden. Another thing to look out for with bank accounts is if large sums of money are being transferred elsewhere. These types of actions should definitely sound an alarm bell for you. Hiding assets is sometimes more common with people that are self employed. That makes it easier to prepay taxes to get tax credits or to retain earnings in the business entity. A lawyer with decades of divorce experience will understand how to investigate this possibility. In complex or high asset cases, your divorce attorney may also consult with a CPA or forensic accountant for advice.
A sneaky way to hide assets is to purchase items and misrepresent their value. This can be easily accomplished if there is a business involved. There are other ways to hide assets if a business is involved, such as overpaying taxes to receive a higher refund after the divorce.
How To Discover The Hidden Assets
Discovering hidden assets can be difficult for any person to accomplish. While it is essential to have an experienced family attorney involved in your divorce, it is especially important when looking to uncover hidden assets. When a divorce is finalized, that doesn’t mean the case is forever closed. If hidden assets are discovered after the divorce is “finalized”, and the court determines there was fraud or deceit involved, you may still be able to get relief from the judge. One of the biggest mistakes we see if people being delusional enough to think they understand how to handle their own divorce case. (It’s less common to see people thinking they understand how to handle their own root canal or surgical procedures.) We have often had clients from Oakland or Macomb County come to us with difficulties, problems, shortcomings and results that wouldn’t have happened if they had a highly experienced divorce attorney on their side to begin with.
With an aggressive divorce lawyer on your team, you can know the right questions are being asked and that all appropriate assets will be considered in your equitable division. Your attorney will request documentation, conduct depositions when necessary, among other processes to ensure they discover hidden assets. They can also issue a subpoena, which is a court order, to obtain the information. Tax records and bank statements can be used to make sure all of the assets are being considered.
What Happens When The Assets Are Discovered?
How the hidden assets will be considered will often depend on the specific facts of your case. Sometimes it may mean receiving a larger share of the marital property. It is also possible for 100% of the hidden assets to be given to the spouse they were hidden from. Attorney’s fees can also be awarded if the effort to uncover the assets was an additional expense. This is not to mention the felony fraud or perjury charges that could come with lying about assets.
You will want an experienced and trustworthy divorce lawyer to help you through a divorce, especially one that has hidden assets. Our attorneys at The Kronzek Firm have helped many clients in Southeastern Michigan uncover hidden assets. We’ve been helping people with their divorce cases since the last century. If you are looking for a strong divorce attorney in Oakland County, Livingston County or Macomb Court, contact us today at 248-479-6200.