Divorce can be a complicated and emotionally challenging process, and one aspect that can further muddy the waters is the discovery of hidden assets. In Minnesota, spouses must disclose all of their assets during divorce proceedings. Still, some individuals may attempt to conceal assets to prevent them from being divided.
This can include hiding assets in offshore accounts, transferring property to third parties, or even undervaluing assets. If there is reason to believe that a spouse is concealing assets during divorce proceedings, it is crucial to take steps to safeguard one’s rights to ensure an equitable distribution of property.
With the help of an experienced attorney and financial expert, it is possible to uncover hidden assets and achieve a just outcome.
What to Do if a Spouse Has Hidden Assets
The first step is to gather as much information as possible, which may involve reviewing financial records, bank statements, and tax returns. Hiring a financial expert or forensic accountant may also be necessary to help uncover any hidden assets.
Another critical step is to seek legal guidance from an attorney. An experienced divorce attorney can help guide the best course of action. If a spouse is found to have concealed assets during the divorce process, they may be required to pay a penalty or face legal consequences.
Signs That a Spouse May Be Hiding Assets During the Divorce
While it can be unclear if a spouse is hiding assets during divorce proceedings, the digital world has made it much more difficult to conceal large amounts of money. A few signs that someone is hiding assets include, but are not limited to:
- Sudden changes in financial behavior, like unusual cash withdrawals, transfers to unknown accounts, or unexplained purchases
- Lack of transparency in financial matters and control over family finances
- Their lifestyle or spending habits appear to be inconsistent with their reported income
Loans and Debts
Loans and debts can be relevant in locating hidden assets during a divorce. One reason is that loans may be used to hide assets. For example, a spouse may take out a loan in their name or the name of a third party, but the funds may be used to purchase and conceal assets. This is particularly true if the loan is not disclosed during the divorce proceedings and the other spouse is unaware of the loan.
Debts may also be used to hide assets. For example, if a spouse controls the family finances, they may accumulate debts and then use the marital assets to pay them off. By doing so, they can reduce the number of assets subject to division during the divorce. This can be particularly concerning if the debts were incurred without the knowledge or consent of the other spouse.
Discovery to Recover Hidden Assets
Discovery is a legal process used during divorce proceedings to gather information and evidence that will be necessary to the separation. In Minnesota, several types of tools that can be used to locate marital assets. These include:
- Interrogatories: Written questions that generally must be answered under oath. Interrogatories can effectively obtain information about a spouse’s income, expenses, and assets.
- Requests for producing documents: An attorney can submit a request in an attempt to obtain financial records, tax returns, bank statements, and other documents related to the issues in the divorce.
- Deposition: This involves questioning the spouse or witnesses under oath, and can be an effective way to obtain information about hidden assets or other issues related to property division.
- Forensic accountant: At times, a forensic accountant may be hired to conduct a financial investigation to uncover hidden assets and other financial irregularities.
A skilled divorce attorney can guide parties through the discovery process and help obtain the information needed regarding common assets that may be hidden or forgotten.
Work With Our Experienced Legal Team Today!
Divorce is hard enough, but staying sharp throughout the process is crucial. By taking proactive steps to uncover any hidden assets, such as gathering information, seeking legal assistance, and filing a motion for discovery, individuals can protect their rights to get what they deserve. Contact our office today to learn more about locating hidden assets during a Minnesota divorce.
This article contains general legal information and does not provide legal advice. For legal advice, please contact M. Sue Wilson Law Offices today.