How to Tell If Your Ex is Hiding Assets
Looking for Hidden Assets in a New Jersey Divorce Proceeding
In preparation for, or in response to, a divorce action, it’s typical for spouses to try to conceal assets, spending patterns or the misuse of marital property. When you have reason to believe that your soon-to-be ex is hiding assets or misrepresenting financial matters, there are ways that you can protect yourself.
Document All Income, Expenses and Assets
Your first step should be to put together a thorough account of all income and expenses during the last few years of your marriage. At the same time, you want to compile an accurate inventory of all marital assets, including those obtained and disposed of before the divorce was filed. Be careful to distinguish any assets you or your spouse brought into the marriage from those obtained during the course of your marriage. When gathering information, it is a good idea to keep the copies and other documents out of the marital home so your spouse cannot destroy them.
Request Copies of All Financial Records
You may need to ask the court for an order compelling production of financial documents, but it’s not a requirement. Ask your spouse for all financial records. If he or she refuses, ask your lawyer to file motion to compel production. If you were named as a joint account holder with any bank, investment firm, or creditor, you can bypass your spouse and request copies directly from the source.
Be careful that you don’t accept unofficial financial documentation. Your ex may offer to provide you with a Quickbooks or Microsoft Money spreadsheet. While that can be helpful, you also want the supporting documentation. Software programs can be easily manipulated to deceive you.
You also have access to a number of legal methods to obtain information about hidden assets. In preparation for trial, the court rules allow you to use specific methods to gather relevant evidence related to your divorce. These tools include:
- Requests for production of documents
- Written questions, called interrogatories, that your ex must truthfully answer
- Requests for inspection of property or asset storage facilities, such as safe deposit boxes
- Depositions, where your attorney questions your ex under oath about financial issues
- Subpoenas, which are specific demands to a bank or institution to send information directly to your lawyer.
Contact the New Jersey Divorce Lawyers at Lyons & Associates
At Lyons & Associates, we bring a high level of personalized service and attention to men and women in New Jersey. For a confidential consultation, contact us by e-mail or call our office at 908-575-9777.