Hidden Assets

I’m Worried My Spouse May Be Hiding Assets

Hidden Assets In A Divorce - Divorce Attorney Michigan Richard I. Lippitt - hiddenBy the time a marriage has broken down to the extent that a Complaint for Divorce has been filed, there is often a significant lack of trust between the parties.

In many cases, the parties have struggled to adequately communicate with each other for months, years, or even decades prior to the inception of a divorce action. Family finances can be one of the main areas where couples have had a breakdown in communication. It is not unusual for one spouse to have significant unanswered questions of the other spouse regarding exactly where the family’s finances have been directed. It is also not unusual for one party to have an unclear picture of exactly how much money the other party earns.

In some instances, it may not necessarily be an act of covert deception by one spouse, but rather just a simple lack of information. In many marriages, during better times, one spouse often will place complete financial trust in the other spouse. The spouse entrusted with the family’s finances may know every facet of where the family’s finances have been directed, while the other spouse has little or no information. It’s not necessarily that the controlling spouse has been hiding assets; it is just that the lesser-informed spouse needs to be fully informed of the family’s financial status during the relatively compressed period of time in which the divorce action plays out.

Regardless of whether there are covert deceptive actions to hide assets, or simply a lack of complete information, an experienced family law attorney must be able to assist you in quickly gaining a crystal clear picture of the family’s financial condition. The family law attorney has many tools at his disposal. Perhaps the single most powerful tool that any attorney possesses is the power of subpoena. A subpoena is, in essence, a Court-sanctioned demand for information. A Michigan- licensed attorney, acting as an officer of the Court, can serve a subpoena on any entity, financial institution, employer, etc., demanding answers to financial questions.

Questions to Uncover Hidden Assets Can Include:

  • Banks: Does the other party have an account at your institution? And if so, provide a complete history of that account. What does the deposit and withdrawal history look like? Have funds been diverted to other entities? Etc.
  • Employers: Is the other party employed by your entity? And if so, how much is he or she paid? How much is their bonus? How long have they worked there? Etc.
  • Pensions/401Ks/Insurance Policies/Retirement Plans: Does the other party maintain assets with your entity? When was the account opened? How much is in the account? When are benefits available to be withdrawn? What are the tax ramifications of the account? Have funds been diverted to other entities? Etc.
  • Stock Brokerages: Does the other party maintain a stock brokerage account? When was the account opened? What are the assets held within the account? What have been the buying and selling activities associated with the account? Have funds been diverted to other entities? Etc.

There are virtually no limits to business and personal entities upon which a subpoena can be served. If you and your family law attorney are relatively certain that the other spouse is hiding assets, your attorney may end up serving subpoenas on dozens of entities in pursuit of hidden assets. Your attorney should be dogged and aggressive in uncovering hidden assets. Don’t forget - even assets that you have previously been unaware of are still partially yours. Also, if it's proven that one party has specifically attempted to hide assets from another party, your attorney will want to immediately make the judge handling your case aware of such deception. Family law judges take a very dim view of sneaky parties that are hiding assets.

If you are considering divorce or have been served divorce papers, call me. I've helped hundreds of people protect their family and their assets and I can help you. For a FREE Consultation Call (248) 921-7164