Michigan is a state that recognizes equitable distribution, especially in case of a divorce. That means that all properties are to be divided equally. This is why some spouses hide assets during a divorce. Hidden assets cannot be divided and will remain in the possession of the current owner. As a result, there is an unequal distribution of assets after the divorce proceedings. Some spouses exert a lot of effort into making sure assets remain hidden.
If you are facing a divorce, then you should make sure that your spouse declares all assets honestly. Doing so can ensure more funds for you and your children in the future.
How Assets Are Hidden and Consequences of Hiding Assets
There are many ways of hiding assets from the court. Some common means by which spouses hide assets include:
- Transfer of assets: Your spouse may hide assets by transferring them to someone else’s account. It is often done through large bank transfers to friends and relatives.
- False loans: Some hide their money in the guise of bogus loans to other people. It gives the illusion of false liquidity, with the “loan” being paid off after the divorce proceedings.
- Not declaring assets: This is one of the simplest ways of hiding assets. A spouse simply doesn’t declare their properties in court.
- Cash-on-hand: A spouse can have vast amounts of cash-on-hand which can be untraceable to the divorce court.
- Giving away property: Another common tactic is to hand off properties to other people. These properties revert after the divorce proceedings.
Investigating all possible avenues for hidden assets is necessary for fair distribution in a divorce. While not all spouses hide assets, those that do usually do it well.
Steps to Take If Your Spouse is Hiding Assets
If you suspect that your spouse is hiding assets from you, follow these five steps:
- Do the math.
Trying to discover the presence of hidden assets isn’t as simple as asking if there are any. Investigations are usually involved, and these investigations cost money. Couple this with the fact that you will likely hire professionals to do the job.
If the money that you will get is worth all the costs and trouble, then continue investigating. If not, you might as well abandon the search. Regardless, you will end up with a lot of unnecessary stress and expenses.
- Leave no stone un-turned, and gather all the evidence that you can.
We mentioned some of the ways that spouses hide their assets earlier in this article. Make sure that you try to account for all those mentioned. Try to look at all possibilities and think of ways by which your spouse can hide assets from you. Search carefully and intelligently, and leave no stone un-turned.
Once you find evidence, make sure to document them properly. Keep spare copies of documents, create photo documentation, and have everything in duplicates. Loss or destruction of evidence can be disastrous if you don’t prepare for it.
- Compile, analyze, and compare the data.
One common mistake that many people make is that they fail to analyze the data properly. You have all the data and evidence on-hand. You may as well make the most use out of them.
- Consult with an expert.
There will be instances that you will not know what to do with the evidence that you have. There will be other instances where some of your evidence will lead to dead ends. One way to move forward is to consult with an expert in the field. Experts on real estate, forensic accountants, or bankers can all prove to be useful.
- Have your lawyers issue subpoenas.
There are some documents and other items that your spouse will deny having access to. If you think that this is an effort to hide assets from you, have your lawyer issue a subpoena. It makes your spouse legally bound to produce the items.
Do You Think Your Spouse is Hiding Assets from You?
It is an important question to ask if you are in the middle of a divorce. The Clark Law Office has Lansing divorce lawyers that have a lot of experience regarding divorce cases. We will help you get a fair settlement for your case.
Our firm has been serving Michigan for years, and we are one of the most trusted law offices that you can find. Contact us at +1 (517) 347-6900 or fill out our online contact form.