Research reveals that the spouse who ends up handling the purse strings in a marriage often boils down to ‘who hates it less’ or ‘who has more time’ to deal with the finances. This results in one spouse developing significant financial literacy when compared to their spouse. The longer the marriage, the more lopsided household financial literacy becomes, with one spouse is “in the know” while the other spouse remains “in the dark”. Not surprisingly, in the event of a divorce, not having a thorough understanding of the family finances can prove disadvantageous.
High net worth individuals have long used secretive and complex mechanisms to move money around, sometimes in an effort to improperly keep assets out of their spouse’s grasp in a divorce. But, hiding assets is not exclusive to those with gobs of money – it happens much more frequently than most expect.
These days, most married couples have relatively complex financial portfolios, which may include a marital home, vacation properties, retirement and pension plans, brokerage accounts, stock options, life insurance and more. There may even be a business or professional practice. Keeping track of all the moving parts is complicated, which can set the stage for a soon- to-be-ex- spouse to take advantage of a less financially savvy partner in a divorce.
If you are considering divorce and are concerned about your spouse hiding income or assets making it impossible to get fair settlement, it is important to work with an experienced complex divorce lawyer. Your attorney will not only help you to organize your personal financial and important documents before you file for divorce, they will ask for a full disclosure from both parties during the divorce process. If your spouse is unwilling or you believe something is just not adding up, your attorney can compel your spouse to come clean.
If your spouse does not voluntarily disclose all information in your divorce, there is a formal legal process to obtain the information and documents known as discovery. Your attorney can ask your spouse to produce specific documents, ask your spouse to respond in writing to interrogatories, demand inspections of property, and take your spouse’s testimony under oath. The consequences for noncompliance or lying are usually enough to compel a spouse to disclose the required information needed to divide of marital property in a divorce. If not, a thorough forensic accounting, which utilizes accounting, auditing, and investigative skills to conduct an examination into the finances of an individual or business, which is quite effective in detecting any discrepancies in your spouse’s financial affidavit so that you receive your fair share of marital assets.
Contact Our Complex Divorce Attorneys for Answers
If you are considering divorce and believe your spouse is hiding income or assets and want to know how you can best prepare, contact the Libertyville complex divorce lawyers at Schlesinger & Strauss LLC for immediate assistance at 847-680-4970.