In a Florida divorce, complete financial disclosure from both spouses is crucial. Information about the spouses’ separate and marital assets may be used to determine important issues, such as property division, child support, spousal support, and other matters. When a spouse has hidden assets, this can obstruct the court and the parties from reaching an equitable outcome and is considered fraudulent. If you believe that your spouse has not disclosed all of their financial holdings, we may be able to assist you. West Palm Beach divorce lawyer Jessica Mishali has the skill and experience to investigate your concerns and help you assert your legal rights.Hidden Assets in a Florida Divorce
When spouses divorce in Florida, they are required to truthfully report the value of their assets, income, debts, and expenses for purposes of equitable distribution. In some cases, one spouse may intentionally hide assets in order to keep them from being considered in the divorce or to prevent the other spouse from receiving an equitable share of the assets. A spouse may unlawfully conceal assets in a divorce by undervaluing their property or business, underreporting income, over-reporting expenses, maintaining offshore or undisclosed bank accounts, or fraudulently transferring them to other individuals. In cases where the spouse owns a business, they may manipulate the value of it by delaying lucrative transactions until after the divorce is finalized, underreporting cash income, or even paying imaginary employees. If you think that your spouse is hiding or misrepresenting the value of their assets, a skilled divorce attorney can prepare an appropriate strategy.Uncovering Hidden Assets
Within 45 days of the filing of a Florida divorce petition, each spouse must provide a mandatory financial disclosure to the other spouse. The disclosure may include financial documents such as tax returns, pay stubs, bank and brokerage account statements, retirement savings and pension information, credit card statements, and other records. If the mandatory financial disclosure is inadequate, you can request that your spouse produce other specific documents through the formal discovery process. Other discovery tools include depositions and written interrogatories, which may be compelled by the court if necessary. Your lawyer also has the authority to request records directly from financial institutions and employers by subpoena. A close analysis of these documents is essential to uncover inconsistencies, patterns, or unfamiliar account numbers. In complex or high net-worth divorces, it may be prudent to hire a qualified forensic accounting professional.Penalties for Concealing Assets
In Florida, a spouse who attempts to conceal assets during divorce proceedings may be subject to various consequences. In such cases, the court has discretion to reallocate the hidden assets to the other spouse, or potentially award the other spouse a larger portion of the marital estate. The court may also order them to pay the expenses incurred by the other spouse in order to uncover the hidden assets, such as attorney fees, court costs, and/or fees for investigators and experts. In addition, the judge may hold the spouse in civil contempt of court until all assets are disclosed and a full accounting is taken. If the spouse lied under oath about the hidden assets, they may face a criminal perjury charge.Consult with a West Palm Beach Lawyer
If you suspect that your spouse is concealing assets, we can help investigate and protect your interests. At the Law Offices of Jessica Mishali, P.A., we assist clients in locating hidden assets and argue for a fair and equitable division of property. Located in West Palm Beach, the office serves individuals located throughout Broward, Martin, and Palm Beach Counties, including Boca Raton, Hobe Sound, Indiantown, Pembroke Pines, Davie, Plantation, Boynton Beach, Jupiter, Wellington, Coral Springs, Hollywood, Delray Beach, Stuart, Palm City, Jensen Beach, Royal Palm Beach, Hallandale Beach, Pompano Beach, and Fort Lauderdale. Request a consultation to discuss a family law matter by calling us at (561) 833-2772 or contacting us online.