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What Are Hidden Assets in a Divorce?

When people divorce, total disclosure is expected when they file. However, that is not always the case. Sometimes spouses will hide assets; either tangible or intangible, from the other spouse hoping they will not be discovered. There are penalties for hiding assets in a divorce and there are legal ways to uncover these assets.

Tangible and Intangible

Tangible assets are things that have physical value, or that can be sold. Examples are cash, jewelry, artwork, collectibles, and firearms. Intangible assets do not have a physical existence. Examples of these would be patents, trademarks, and copyrights. Both tangible and intangible assets are subject to distribution in a divorce and both should be disclosed and not hidden.

First Steps

The first step in the discovery process is to request a full disclosure of all assets. These can be assets acquired before and during the marriage and separately or together as a couple. Once the asset total is presented, attorneys can then start the process of creating asset division plans that may be accepted by a judge.

Discovery Tools

If a spouse suspects that the other spouse is hiding assets, there are legal resources available to help. These resources include oral depositions where the spouse-in-question has to talk about their assets under oath. Additionally, a spouse can demand financial documents and property and safety deposit box inspections from their spouse. These requests and demands should be handled by an experienced family law attorney on behalf of an inquiring spouse.

Requests That Should be Made

Any document that relates to assets, liabilities, income, and debt should be requested during this discovery process. This can include income tax forms, loan documents, financial statements, bank account information, stock options, patents; basically, anything that has value should be acquired. An asset division attorney can help you pursue the documents you need to find potential hidden assets.

Uncovering hidden assets is necessary for each spouse to receive an equitable distribution of marital property. Hiring an attorney is the best way to protect yourself and your assets, to request the appropriate materials from your spouse, and to ensure you receive full disclosure.

Call (909) 315-4588 now to set up a consultation for your case!