Divorce can be a messy process and can result in significant financial loss if your assets are not protected. Sadly, some spouses try to hide assets from their significant other. The fear of losing assets that are rightfully part of the marital property is only natural. No spouse should be allowed to hide assets from the other. To find any hidden assets requires diligent work in the discovery process and an attorney with the knowledge and experience in finding hidden assets.
Understanding the challenges of finding hidden assets is critical to protecting your property rights. With the assistance of an experienced Missouri divorce lawyer, you can be assured that your rights are protected and you receive what is yours.
When Your Spouse Did the Bookkeeping
In many marriages, one spouse does the majority of the bookkeeping work, which usually includes:
- Balancing the checkbook and accounts,
- Paying the bills,
- Managing investments and retirement accounts, or
- Making major purchases.
When one spouse has been out of the loop on the specifics of the finances, it can be difficult to know if the other spouse has been hiding assets. When your divorce deals with assets of a high value, the risk to your financial security may be even greater.
The first step is to obtain copies of all financial records from your spouse. If your spouse cooperates with this request, it can save a great deal of time and headache. If a spouse refuses to hand over the records, provides only part of them, or provides obviously incorrect records, it can be more complicated. However, with the help of an experienced Missouri divorce attorney, you can rest assured that your spouse will not get off that easily.
Common Ways Spouses Hide Assets
Spouses commonly try to hide assets by employing the following tactics.
- Moving funds from a joint account to a separate account.
- Transferring funds to another third party, often as part of fake payments or transactions.
- Paying for fake goods or services.
- Overpaying the IRS.
- Stashing funds from paychecks, direct deposits, or commission/bonus checks.
- Hiding income in a small business.
- Giving fake loans to family and friends.
In Missouri, divorcing couples are generally entitled to equitable distribution of the marital assets. When spouses hide assets, they are violating your rights in the divorce process.
The Discovery Process in a Missouri Divorce
Discovery is the formal legal process for obtaining information and documents. It provides several different methods of obtaining information from your spouse and their attorney.
Requests for Documents
Your attorney can formally request all financial documents relating to the marriage, including assets held by both the couple together and each person individually. These include
- Bank statements,
- Tax returns,
- Loan applications,
- Account records and history,
- Credit card records,
- Investment records, and
- Retirement account information.
Interrogatories or Requests for Admission
Interrogatories and requests for admissions are specific legal methods of getting answers from your spouse. Your spouse and attorney are required to answer them truthfully or face legal ramifications. Lying on a legal form is often more difficult for the other spouse and you are more likely to find hidden assets.
A deposition is a legal process for questioning parties in the case, under oath, and in front of a court reporter. It can be used to ask questions about any assets that are part of the divorce. Your spouse is required to answer all questions under oath, and a lie while under oath can result in severe legal consequences.
Consult a Missouri Divorce Attorney
If you are concerned your spouse may be hiding assets, seek the help of experienced Cass County attorney Joshua Wilson. You will go into the divorce process with power, knowledge, and confidence.
Contact the Joshua Wilson Law Firm today at (816) 331-9968 for a consultation.
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