Hidden Assets in a Divorce
When you file for divorce in Florida, or when your spouse files for divorce, one of the major aspects of any divorce case is the division of marital property. To be clear, under Florida law (Chapter 61 of the Florida Statutes), all marital property is divided according to a theory of equitable distribution unless there is an enforceable premarital agreement in place that details how the property will be divided in the event of a divorce. This means that the Florida court will divide marital assets and debts in such a way that is fair to both of the spouses. As you may know, only marital property is divisible in a divorce. Separate or non-marital property will not be divided.
However, in some divorce cases involving complex property division, one of the spouses will try to hide assets to avoid having that property divided in the divorce case. Sometimes assets are hidden for personal or sentimental reasons. For example, a couple may have purchased a particular artwork during the marriage that one of the spouses feels attached to and does not want to risk losing. In other scenarios, and as is often the case, one of the parties earns substantially more money than the other spouse and does not want to have most of his or her earnings classified as marital property and divided as part of the divorce case.
The following are some key things to know about hidden assets. If you have additional questions, you should get in touch with an Orlando divorce lawyer as soon as possible.
All Marital Property Must Be Disclosed
All marital property—both assets and debts—must be disclosed in a divorce case. Even when a couple owns substantial property, including real property and various other types of property, it all must be disclosed so that it can be classified and, if necessary, divided. Separate or non-marital property will not be divided. However, any property acquired after the date of marriage that is not clearly separate property may be subject to division.
Both spouses are required to disclose all assets and debts as part of the divorce case. If one spouse fails to disclose information about assets, that party can face serious consequences.
Keeping Detailed Records Can Prevent One Spouse from Hiding Assets
It may be possible to prevent your spouse from hiding assets simply by keeping detailed records of your property. If possible, prior to filing for divorce, you should make a list of all marital assets and photocopy any records related to the acquisition of such property. For instance, you should gather detailed information about the date of purchase, the estimated value at the time of purchase, how and where it was purchased, and whether there have been any subsequent valuations of the property.
For some spouses, this can be difficult if a business is also part of the marital assets. One of the parties may run the business (or play a major role in the business), and thus may have greater access to and knowledge about the assets of the business.
A Forensic Accountant May Be Able to Help
In particularly complex situations involving hidden assets, a forensic accountant may be able to help with your divorce. Forensic accountants can locate and trace detailed information about assets that would otherwise be difficult to obtain.
Contact a Divorce Attorney in Orlando
Do you need help with your divorce case? Do you have concerns about hidden assets? An experienced Orlando complex property division lawyer at our firm can speak with you today about your case. Contact Anderson & Ferrin to learn more about the services we provide.