A Common Tactic
Hiding assets in a divorce case is unethical yet surprisingly common. Spouses hide assets for a number of reasons such as revenge, greed, and fear of financial insecurity. Unfortunately, the other spouse is often blindsided by such a discovery. If you think your spouse is hiding assets, here is what you need to do.
First, you need to determine the scope of the dishonesty. The court can impose sanctions against a spouse who hid assets, and it could even affect your divorce judgment. Thus, knowing how much money was hidden and where it went (and whether you can get it back) is a crucial first step. It’s best to work with an attorney on this. An experienced divorce attorney will have seen the gamut of asset-hiding tricks and will know how to uncover them.
You could also hire a forensic accountant to trace where your money went and exactly how much was hidden. The costs of such an investigation can be high, however, so speak with an attorney before you take this expensive next step.
Exercise Your Rights
Once you know how much was hidden and where it went, you can seek relief from the court. Not only can the court impose monetary sanctions on your spouse, but also it can award you a greater share of the remaining assets if you had a claim to the hidden assets and can’t get them back.
Keep in mind, however, that you bear the burden of proof. If you claim your spouse is hiding assets, you should have some form of supportive evidence. Without any evidence of hidden assets, there is little the court can do in terms of imposing sanctions and awarding you more assets.
Going Back to Court
If you didn’t find out your spouse was hiding assets until after your divorce finalized, there may be steps you can take to remedy the situation. New Jersey is an equitable distribution state, which means divorcing spouses are entitled to a fair share of the assets but not necessarily half. In these cases, it may be difficult to ask the court to amend your divorce judgment to award you more assets, so keep this in mind.
If you have any suspicion your spouse is hiding assets, speak with an experienced New Jersey divorce and matrimonial attorney immediately. It’s crucial to know the extent of the hidden assets before your divorce finalizes so you have the best chance at a fair—and accurate—divorce judgment.
Are you contemplating divorce in New Jersey? If so, Williams Law Group, LLC can help. Our skilled divorce attorneys can help you navigate the divorce process from start to finish. Located in Short Hills, New Jersey, Williams Law Group, LLC provides compassionate and dedicated legal services to Union, Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Morris, Monmouth, and Middlesex counties, and the surrounding areas. Our knowledgeable attorneys handle divorce and family law, child custody, and child abuse/neglect cases. Call our office at (908) 810-1083, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact us through our confidential online form to schedule a consultation and ultimately get you connected with an experienced New Jersey divorce and child custody attorney.