Fraud & Hidden Assets
If you suspect your spouse has intentionally hidden assets, we are here to help. The staff at Woodruff Family Law Group have training in fraud detection methods. Our experienced family law and divorce attorneys have knowledge, skill and experience to deal with situations in which there has been fraud and one of the parties has hidden assets from the other party. It is important to have someone with the expertise to deal with these types of situations at your side throughout this process.
As one would expect, fraud and hidden assets are usually not issues at the very beginning of a marriage. At the beginning of a marriage, both parties usually do not anticipate that their marriage will ever come to an end. Since neither party is contemplating a future divorce, there is no reason for either party to consider hiding their assets. Generally speaking, the issue of actively hiding assets tends to occur when one party has decided that the marriage is probably over and is considering divorce.
Once one of the parties has decided that a divorce is likely imminent, it is at this point that they realize they are going to have to divide everything that has been earned, purchased, or acquired during the marriage down the middle with their spouse. This does not sit well with some people. The party may feel that it is in their best interests to begin secreting away money or assets so that they will not have to be shared with their spouse. Hiding or concealing assets may also be used a way to punish the other spouse for any perceived wrongdoing.
Eventually, when the parties actually separate and file for a divorce, the assets have already been hidden, making the process of distributing the marital property much more difficult. It is very difficult to have a good faith negotiation regarding the division of property when one spouse is in the dark as to the true extent of the marital assets due to the actions of the other spouse. It is also difficult for a judge to make an accurate division of the property if not all of the property is disclosed in the required inventory affidavits of marital property.
Lying or misleading the other spouse regarding actual assets and liabilities you have possession of may be considered fraud. Filling out the required inventory affidavits of marital property requires each spouse’s notarized signature. Each party is required to provide a full and fair disclosure of the known assets and liabilities. Putting false information on, or failing to disclose information on these equitable distribution (ED) affidavits, and then signing them, can be fraud.
It is important to be honest and truthful when filling out the ED affidavit, as there can be serious legal consequences for intentionally hiding, concealing, or lying about assets. This is where an experienced family law and divorce attorney can be of assistance. Having a fresh perspective reviewing both your ED affidavit and your spouse’s ED affidavit can catch questionable items that you may miss.
If you believe your spouse has been hiding assets, or has committed fraud on his or her ED affidavit, contact us to set up an initial consultation.