You've worked long and hard to get where you are today. Perhaps you finally achieved the peace of mind that comes from knowing your future is reasonably financially secure. It's understandable that you don't want to let your upcoming divorce undermine your financial stability. After all, it's been a long time since you were single and you want to make sure you're starting off on the right foot where property, assets and investments are concerned.
Hiding assets in divorce is illegal in Michigan and all other states, but unfortunately, it happens all the time. The first step in protecting your assets is to learn the signs that alert you to hidden asset problems so you can demand an explanation of any situation that causes you concern and hopefully prevent your spouse from leaving you empty-handed.
Full disclosure is the name of the game
Before the court can determine how to divide marital assets in divorce, there's usually a discovery process that gets the ball rolling. Part of this process involves disclosure of all assets on both sides. Being mindful of the following may help alert you to potential trouble:
- Financial disclosure should be voluntary in divorce. You also have a right to review itemized lists your spouse discloses to the court.
- If you suspect that a particular asset's value has not been accurately stated, you may call it into question and/or have it appraised to confirm its worth.
- If you notice something has been omitted from a disclosed asset list, you may want to further inquire about it. Perhaps, your spouse simply forgot to mention it, or perhaps, there's more to it than that.
- Interrogatories are requests for involuntary disclosures to which your spouse must comply, such as when you ask to review bank statements, tax documents, liens, or estate plan documents.
- It is often possible to request a sworn deposition from your spouse that can later be referred to in court. This is often a sufficient means for preventing hidden assets.
It's not always immediately apparent when one spouse tries to hide assets from the other. However, a person with savvy investigation skills knows how to track down hidden assets and bring such matters to the court's attention.
There is absolutely no reason you shouldn't be able to get your hands on what is rightfully yours in divorce. If someone is moving money from a joint account without your knowledge or permission, or you notice your spouse suddenly offering loans to close friends or family members, it may be a sign that something is out of line with regard to your marital property. By reaching out for support, you can protect your rights.