Assets

WHAT CAN I DO IF I THINK MY SPOUSE IS HIDING ASSETS IN MY ORLANDO, FLORIDA DIVORCE?

WHAT CAN I DO IF I THINK MY SPOUSE IS HIDING ASSETS IN MY ORLANDO, FLORIDA DIVORCE?

A hotly contested issue in any divorce is the division of property that was acquired during the marriage. When beginning the divorce process, one of the first things you and your attorney will sit down and discuss are marital assets and liabilities. This list will be translated into a Financial Affidavit that will be sworn to and filed with the court, both by you and your spouse. The court will use this in their determination of equitable distribution. However, equitable distribution can become complicated if one partner attempts to hide property or assets during this process. Your Orlando Divorce Attorney can discuss with you the process of equitable distribution and ways to reveal assets that your spouse may be attempting to conceal.

For the Court to properly determine equitable distribution, Florida law requires the parties to give an honest and detailed accounting of their financial standing. The court does this by requiring each party to provide a financial affidavit which lists all of the parties’ income, assets and liabilities. Furthermore, the court requires the parties to provide mandatory disclosures. Mandatory disclosures are:

(1) A financial affidavit

(2) All federal and state income tax returns, gift tax returns, and intangible personal property tax returns filed by the party or on the party’s behalf for the past 3 years.

(3) IRS forms W-2, 1099, and K-1 for the past year, if the income tax return for that year has not been prepared.

(4) Pay stubs or other evidence of earned income for the 3 months before service of the financial affidavit.

(5) A statement by the producing party identifying the amount and source of all income received from any source during the 3 months preceding the service of the financial affidavit required by this rule if not reflected on the pay stubs produced.

(6) All loan applications and financial statements prepared or used within the 12 months preceding service of that party’s financial affidavit required by this rule, whether for the purpose of obtaining or attempting to obtain credit or for any other purpose.

(7) All deeds within the last 3 years, all promissory notes within the last 12 months, and all present leases, in which the party owns or owned an interest, whether held in the party’s name individually, in the party’s name jointly with any other person or entity, in the party’s name as trustee or guardian for any other person, or in someone else’s name on the party’s behalf.

(8) All periodic statements from the last 3 months for all checking accounts, and from the last 12 months for all other accounts (for example, savings accounts, money market funds, certificates of deposit, etc.), regardless of whether or not the account has been closed, including those held in the party’s name individually, in the party’s name jointly with any other person or entity, in the party’s name as trustee or guardian for any other person, or in someone else’s name on the party’s behalf.

(9) All brokerage account statements in which either party to this action held within the last 12 months or holds an interest including those held in the party’s name individually, in the party’s name jointly with any person or entity, in the party’s name as trustee or guardian for any other person, or in someone else’s name on the party’s behalf.

(10) The most recent statement for any profit sharing, retirement, deferred compensation, or pension plan (for example, IRA, 401(k), 403(b), SEP, KEOGH, or other similar account) in which the party is a participant or alternate payee and the summary plan description for any retirement, profit sharing, or pension plan in which the party is a participant or an alternate payee. (The summary plan description must be furnished to the party on request by the plan administrator as required by 29 U.S.C. § 1024(b)(4).)

(11) The declarations page, the last periodic statement, and the certificate for all life insurance policies insuring the party’s life or the life of the party’s spouse, whether group insurance or otherwise, and all current health and dental insurance cards covering either of the parties and/or their dependent children.

(12) Corporate, partnership, and trust tax returns for the last 3 tax years if the party has an ownership or interest in a corporation, partnership, or trust greater than or equal to 30%.

(13) All promissory notes for the last 12 months, all credit card and charge account statements and other records showing the party’s indebtedness as of the date of the filing of this action and for the last 3 months, and all present lease agreements, whether owed in the party’s name individually, in the party’s name jointly with any other person or entity, in the party’s name as trustee or guardian for any other person, or in someone else’s name on the party’s behalf.

(14) All written premarital or marital agreements entered into at any time between the parties to this marriage, whether before or during the marriage. Additionally, in any modification proceeding, each party must serve on the opposing party all written agreements entered into between them at any time since the order to be modified was entered.

(15) All documents and tangible evidence supporting the producing party’s claim that an asset or liability is nonmarital, for enhancement or appreciation of nonmarital property, or for an unequal distribution of marital property. The documents and tangible evidence produced must be for the time period from the date of acquisition of the asset or debt to the date of production or from the date of the marriage, if based on premarital acquisition.

(16) Any court orders directing a party to pay or receive spousal or child support.

If your partner is hiding assets from the court, they are in violation of these disclosure rules and you need to seek help from a knowledgeable Orlando Divorce Attorney.

After your spouses’ mandatory disclosure has been provided, our attorneys comb through each document to provide a better picture of their financial standing. These documents include taxes, business records, bank statements, property records or insurance plans. Your attorney is trained to look for discrepancies and regular payments that signal certain concealment. In cases where your spouse uses more advanced methods of deception, your attorney can request more extensive records during the discovery process- even hiring a forensic accountant when the situation calls for more in-depth investigation.

If your spouse omitted certain documents, your Orlando Divorce Attorney can make specific request to your spouse or the court. These requests are legally binding and failure to answer and provide such documentation can result in legal penalties for your spouse. If your spouse still refuses to provide the requested documents, your attorney can request the records directly from the financial institutions, bypassing your spouse completely. This process of contacting the third party is known as a subpoena. These subpoenas are also legally binding on the institutions.

One final process your attorney may take to reveal hidden assets is questioning during a deposition. Using the deposition process can allow your attorney to place your spouse under oath to answer questions. Since this is an official tool, information gleaned during this process can be used in court hearings. Your Orlando Divorce Attorney can use this opportunity to expose deception and inconsistency in the information provided.

If you are involved in a divorce in Florida and you feel that your spouse may be hiding assets, you need the experience that an Orlando Divorce Attorney can lend to your case.

Speak to one of our Orlando divorce attorneys if you are facing a divorce with hidden assets. We accept calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Contact us at 800-822-5171 or complete an online contact form to get in touch with a member of our team today. We also have offices in Panama City, Fort Walton, Pensacola, and Tallahassee Florida.

Speak to one of our Orlando divorce attorneys if you are facing a divorce with hidden assets. We accept calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Contact us at 800-822-5171 or complete an online contact form to get in touch with a member of our team today. We also have offices in Panama City, Fort Walton, Pensacola, and Tallahassee Florida.

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