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What Can I Do if I Think My Spouse is Hiding Assets During a Divorce in Orlando, FL?
Getting divorced in Orlando requires you and your spouse to disclose all of the property you own. The purpose of disclosing your assets is for equitable property division. If you believe your spouse is hiding assets during a divorce, there are several steps you can take to uncover those assets, including contacting an Orlando property division lawyer.
Florida Laws Regarding Property Division in a Divorce
Florida is an equitable distribution state for marital property. Equitable means “fair,” which may or may not mean equal (50/50). If the parties cannot agree on how to divide marital property, a judge decides what is equitable based on the facts of the case.
Florida Statute §61.075 defines marital property as:
- Assets acquired during the marriage by either spouse individually or jointly
- The increase in value of nonmarital assets as a result of the efforts of either spouse or contributions of either party from marital assets during the marriage
- The paydown of a note or mortgage secured by nonmarital real property with marital funds and a portion of the passive appreciation
- Interspousal gifts during the marriage
- Interests in retirement accounts accrued during the marriage
- Real and personal property held as tenants by the entireties acquired before or during the marriage
To avoid dividing marital property, a spouse may hide or conceal the property. Some assets may be easier to hide than other assets.
Examples of assets that a spouse often conceals include:
- Traveler’s checks
- Insurance policies
- Municipal bonds
- Family heirlooms
- Collectibles, arts, and other physical property
Unfortunately, there are many ways that your spouse could conceal assets. Learning how spouses hide assets in a divorce can help you determine how to find hidden assets.
Common Ways Spouses Hide Assets During a Divorce in Orlando, FL
Examples of ways that spouses try to conceal assets during a divorce action include:
Paying Fake Debts
Your spouse may “pay” off debts owed to family members, friends, and other parties in anticipation of a divorce action. However, these debts are not legitimate debts. Instead, the person holds the money for your spouse and returns it to them after your divorce is final.
Funding a Child’s Financial Account
Spouses may use a financial account you set up for your child to hide money. They may transfer funds through the account to an account in their name only.
Converting Cash into Other Assets
Your spouse may use cash to purchase other assets they conceal in anticipation of a divorce. For example, they may use joint funds to purchase a valuable collectible that can easily be hidden because there is no title or record of the purchase.
Another common way to conceal cash is to purchase traveler’s checks. Unfortunately, traveler’s checks are difficult to trace and easy to conceal.
Funneling Funds Through Their Business
Your spouse may transfer funds through the business into their personal accounts or purchase assets with business funds they can conceal. Setting up fake employees and accounts payable is a common example of using a business to conceal marital assets.
How Can You Discover Hidden Assets During a Divorce?
Your Orlando divorce lawyer can help you find concealed assets in a divorce by using several tools, such as:
Reviewing Your Financial Accounts
You can review your financial accounts to search for hidden assets. For example, look for large money transfers or suspicious purchases and payments. These transactions could be evidence of concealed assets.
Hiring a Forensic Accountant
A forensic accountant examines financial records that are difficult and complex to understand. They trace assets and cash through these accounts by following each transaction. By doing so, they can discover hidden assets, including assets held in other states, offshore banks, and businesses.
Discovery is the process of exchanging information during a civil lawsuit. You have the right to request relevant information from your spouse. Your spouse must respond to your requests under penalty of perjury. During the discovery process, you may uncover records that could lead you to hidden assets.
Hiring a Private Investigator
A private investigator has the skills and resources to find hidden assets. Generally, private investigators are valuable resources during a contested divorce.
Petitioning the Court
If you believe your spouse is intentionally concealing assets, you may petition the court for assistance. The court may issue an order requiring your spouse to produce the documents and information you requested. Violating a court order could result in serious consequences for your spouse.
Contact an Orlando Divorce Lawyer For Help If You Think Your Spouse Is Hiding Assets
You deserve an equitable share of marital property during a divorce. Working with an experienced Orlando property division lawyer can help uncover evidence that your spouse is attempting to cheat you out of your fair share of the marital assets.
Contact Our Divorce Law Firm in Orlando, FL
Contact the experienced Orlando divorce lawyers at McMichen, Cinami & Demps today for legal assistance. Contact our Orlando, FL office at (407) 898-2161 to schedule a free consultation.
McMichen, Cinami & Demps – Orlando Office
1500 E Concord St
Orlando, FL 32803