One common concern for people in a divorce is that the other spouse will hide assets or income. However, it is harder than you may think to do that, and a good divorce attorney has ways of finding assets that the other spouse attempts to hide.
Disclosures Lead to Clues
At the start of every divorce case, both parties will file full disclosures of their income and their assets, under oath. Yes, people can, and do, lie in these affidavits. However, the affidavits are nonetheless a starting place to dig deeper and find out the truth about hidden assets.
One Thing Leads to Another
Finding hidden assets is largely about “connecting the dots”; rarely can someone totally and completely isolate property or money.
For example, let’s say that someone is hiding money in a trust fund. Their bank accounts may reveal that there was a payment to, for example, a trust and estate attorney. Why would someone need a trust and estate attorney? Your divorce attorney could then dig deeper and ask in depositions about why this attorney was needed, until the truth about the hidden trust is revealed.
Is someone’s mom hiding assets for them? Somewhere, there would be a bank account statement showing a transfer of funds to that person’s mother—or the mother herself could be deposed.
People connected to the assets being hidden need to be contacted, emailed, and paid—money managers, brokerage account managers, or trustees—when evidence of these payments, emails, or correspondence shows up in financial records, some follow-up often leads to the hidden assets.
Not Everyone Will Lie
Ultimately, your spouse may lie—but he or she likely would not be able to keep moms, dads, attorneys, trustees, corporate partners, and all the other people that may be assisting your spouse in hiding assets, from lying under oath. Somewhere, there will be a person or a document that has information that leads to the next “clue,” that eventually leads to the hidden asset.
For more complex scams, forensic accountants can be used to comb through business records and bank accounts to see what is being hidden and how.
The mere threat of a professional combing through someone’s personal or professional business records, and that information becoming public, and your spouse potentially having to sit for a deposition under oath and answer questions about all of these documents and financial records, is enough to make an obstinate spouse more willing to come clean about assets and income.
Often, things just do not make sense. Did your spouse just rent an apartment for $3,000 a month, when he or she says they are only making $2,000 a month in income? Courts listen to logic—your spouse will have to explain how this makes any sense at all.
We can help make sure you get what you deserve in your New Jersey divorce. Contact our New Jersey divorce law attorneys at The Law Office of Agnes Rybar LLC today.