When couples are going through a divorce, there are many things that must be resolved before the divorce can be finalized. One important issue to resolve is that of property and asset division. Couples are encouraged to work together to reach an agreement, although the court will intervene if an agreement cannot be reached. Unfortunately, some people try to hide assets when going through a divorce. Here’s what you should know about hiding assets in a divorce and how a Massachusetts divorce lawyer can help—
Do I Have to Disclose Assets in a Divorce?
The first thing to know is that you are legally required to disclose all of your assets and debts when you are going through a divorce. Disclosure is required through the financial statement that you submit. Financial statements are required in all divorce cases in our state, even those divorces that are uncontested.
Misrepresenting information on a financial statement—which might include failing to disclose certain assets—can have serious penalties. Not only may it hurt your chances of the court siding in your favor when it comes to your property division judgment or other issues in your divorce, but the court could impose other penalties, including jail time in some cases, too.
Why Might a Spouse Hide Assets in a Divorce?
Massachusetts courts recognize the rule of equitable distribution, which means that assets in a divorce must be divided in a way that’s fair and just, but not necessarily equal. A party going through a divorce may choose to hide assets in hopes that by hiding these assets, those assets won’t be subject to division. Hiding assets can also impact the court’s impression of the individual’s financial means and worth, which could in turn affect a property division or alimony judgment, or an award of child support. In short, a spouse hides assets in order to keep their wealth hidden and protected.
How to Uncover Hidden Assets in a Divorce
Uncovering hidden assets can be a challenge, and usually requires the help of a financial analyst who can dig through tax returns, bank account statements, receipts, and other financial documents. If you suspect that your spouse is hiding assets, you should speak with your attorney about your concerns. Remember, you have the right to this information; if your spouse isn’t turning it over during your divorce, your attorney can help you obtain it.
How Our Massachusetts Divorce Attorney Can Help
When you’re getting a divorce, working with an attorney is strongly recommended. Your attorney can help you to understand divorce laws, the rules around property division, what types of information you are obligated to disclose, how to negotiate a property division settlement, how to search for hidden assets, and more. Throughout the process, your attorney will advocate for your best interests.
To learn more about uncovering hidden assets in a divorce and how our Massachusetts divorce attorney at the Law Office of Heather M. Ward can help, send us a message or call us directly today at (617) 903-8955.