As part of a Georgia divorce, spouses are required to disclose a full picture of their financial situations and divide their marital property. In some cases, not everyone is willing to cooperate, and some spouses may even try to hide assets in an attempt to avoid sharing it with their soon-to-be ex partner. We often see these tactics in high net worth divorces where the stakes are high and complex assets are involved. Nevertheless, hiding marital property is considered fraud, and it can lead to serious legal consequences.
How are Assets Hidden?
There are numerous ways assets can be hidden. For example, if one spouse owned a business, they could hold off on signing lucrative deals until after the divorce or pay salaries to people who don’t exist. Another ploy we often see is hiding assets by setting up trusts under a child’s name. The following include more places a spouse may disguise marital property:
Antiques, artwork, or hobby equipment
Unreported income on tax returns and financial statements
Phony debt repayment to a friend
Retirement accounts that you are unaware of
Uncovering Hidden Assets
If you suspect your spouse of hiding assets, you should inform your attorney immediately. Through a powerful legal tool called “discovery,” you will be able to gather information and documents, which should reveal the extent of property ownership, debt, and income. The goal is to ensure that the marital assets are divided fairly in the divorce. The discovery methods include the following:
Document demands. Your attorney will request documents from your spouse, including tax returns, loan applications, and account records.
Interrogatories. These are written questions that are sent to the other party, which must be answered under oath.
Inspection demands. This would allow you to inspect property to use as evidence, such as access to your spouse’s art collection.
Testimony given under oath. In a deposition, you, your spouse, and the lawyers would appear for an in-person questioning where your spouse would be sworn to tell the truth.
Our attorneys can help answer your questions about finding assets in a divorce. Reach out to Warner Bates today at (770) 766-8148 to schedule a virtual consultation!