Finding Hidden Assets During the Divorce Process

The key to a straightforward divorce is a willingness to be open with your former partner about your assets. If you or your spouse can not openly discuss your assets and debts with your attorneys or a mediator to divide them fairly, your attorneys may have to go through a process known as discovery.

How Can an Individual Hide Assets?

There are many different ways an individual can attempt to hide assets in an effort to spare them from being divided as part of his or her divorce. Some examples of these methods include:

  • Purchasing expensive items, such as office décor or electronics.

  • Hiding cash or goods in a safe deposit box.

  • Moving assets into another individual’s name.

  • Overpaying the IRS with the intention of receiving the excess through a return later.

  • Underreporting income to the IRS.

  • Opening secret bank accounts.

If your spouse has done any of the above, he or she might be attempting to hide marital assets that you are rightfully entitled to have divided between you.

The Discovery Process

If you suspect your spouse could be hiding assets, your attorney can recover these assets through the discovery process. The discovery process may include any of the following:

  • Interrogatories. An interrogatory is a written questionnaire that your spouse completes which is certified to with respect to the representations made therein. It may include questions about your shared assets, his or her income, and his or her recent purchases.

  • Depositions. A deposition is similar to an interrogatory, but is conducted verbally rather than on paper and is done with a court reporter. During a deposition, your spouse is required to answer questions under oath about his or her financial activity and your assets as a married couple.

  • A request that he or she produce specific tangible items or documents related to the assets he or she may be hiding.

  • Hiring a private investigator. In many instances, a private investigator is utilized to do tangible and/or liquid asset searches to uncover hidden assets.

During a divorce, all marital property that was not specifically excluded in a prenuptial agreement must be divided among the divorcing couple. In New Jersey, marital property is divided according to a principle known as equitable distribution, which states that each partner receives a share of the couple’s property according to his or her contribution to the marriage’s property’s worth and his or her economic and personal needs following the divorce.

If you suspect your spouse might be attempting to hide assets from you, you have the right to work with an attorney to find every piece of shared property and include it in your property division. Contact The Law Office of Eric B. Hannum Esq., LLC. today at 732-370-9596 to schedule your initial legal consultation with our firm. We can walk you through the discovery process and clarify for you what is and is not marital property. We can also represent your case when you go to court. Do not wait to contact our firm – give us a call and start working on your divorce with us today. We proudly serve clients in Middlesex, Mercer, Monmouth, Ocean, and Burlington counties.

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