Locating Hidden Assets in a Divorce in New Jersey
Divorce Attorneys Protecting Financial Rights in Woodland Park, Wayne, Clifton, West Milford, and Passaic County, NJ
When a marriage is coming to an end, a critical concern is how the couple will divide marital assets. All marital assets must be disclosed and accounted for to make an equitable division of assets. However, one party may be concerned about whether their soon-to-be ex is hiding assets. If you believe your spouse may be hiding assets to devalue the equitable distribution you are entitled to, our team of dedicated divorce attorneys at The Montanari Law Group can help. We work with a team of professionals that will assist to identify and recover assets your spouse has hidden from you in New Jersey.
When you contact us for a free consultation, we can answer your questions and discuss your unique concerns. Simply call 973-233-4396 or contact us online today. Our firm assists clients with hidden assets in a divorce in Teaneck, Hawthorne, Montclair, Passaic, Hackensack, and towns throughout Essex, Bergen, and Passaic County. Below is more information about hidden assets in New Jersey divorce law for your understanding.
Hidden Assets in a Divorce Situation in NJ
When one party stashes cash away or hides investment accounts from another, the spouse will not have a fair distribution of the marital property. In these situations, it’s critical to uncover these hidden assets to reach an equitable distribution of the couple’s assets. If it’s not discovered, the person hiding assets will unfairly receive a larger portion of the marital assets. Therefore, in every divorce proceeding, it is imperative to uncover all assets. It’s the only way to reach an equitable division of assets.
If you are preparing for a divorce and feel that your soon-to-be ex is hiding assets, you should begin to take inventory of commonly hidden assets. This will help your attorney get a financial picture of the marriage. It will also be necessary when submitting a financial statement to the court. When making a list, it’s better to be over-inclusive and have an attorney decide what qualifies as a marital asset and what does not.
Commonly Hidden Assets in Divorce
Commonly hidden assets can take many forms. It can be real property, such as a residential home, a vacation home, and rental property. Inheritances or gifts are another commonly hidden asset that should make your inventory list. This is despite whether they were given before or after the marriage. Again, you do not want to exclude anything in the preliminary stages. Other general examples include gifts, jewelry, cars, rental money, or income earned from other properties. Other assets commonly hidden include business income, pension earnings, and investments.
Methods Frequently Used for Hiding Assets
There are many creative ways a person can hide marital assets. The person can have a separate bank account, which was never disclosed in the marriage, and filter marital funds to it. If a person owns their own business, they can claim extensive business losses while filtering cash away from their marital partner. They can begin to pay debts, which aren’t debts but meant to serve as decoys. In these schemes, it’s common for a relative or friend to be the recipient of the money. Cryptocurrency and Bitcoin are also easy ways to hide assets because they are often untraceable. Therefore, if your spouse becomes interested in cryptocurrency, you should pay close attention to sites visited and money leaving your accounts.
People commonly hide marital assets anywhere they believe their spouse won’t look. This sounds like a non-answer, but that’s precisely why paying attention to any change, even the minor ones, is essential. For example, if you suspect your husband’s routine has changed, perhaps it’s because they are hiding something. They may have opened up a private mailing address or P.O. Box, one you don’t know about. This would require them to pick up the mail secretly and hide it from you.
Another common way to hide assets is through electronic devices. It’s too easy to open up new accounts and move money around through a computer or other electronic device. Once done, your spouse may try to delete all traces. Suppose their computer is always locked, and they refuse to answer questions about bank statements or other financial documents that were once shared. In that case, it may indicate that they are hiding assets.
How May Assets be Located when Getting Divorced?
Being informed of the assets and liabilities throughout your marriage is essential. In a divorce proceeding, your attorney will rely on you (in part) to disclose marital assets. However, the law recognizes that a spouse may not have a complete picture of finances. Suppose your spouse takes steps to prevent you from getting a sense of all the marriage’s assets and liabilities. In that case, they will not be rewarded by keeping your share. Instead, an attorney can help you discover these hidden assets.
Discovery Process as a Way to Find Hidden Assets
Once the parties prepare for a court trial, discovery is a tool to uncover hidden assets. Discovery is a mix of written questions, depositions, and requests for inspection that seek to uncover the truth. Each litigant to the suit must provide truthful responses. However, undertaking an oath to tell the truth isn’t always respected. Discovery is a litigation tool to tease out the truth. It is crucial because it will alert a judge – who ultimately has to approve the division of marital assets – what assets are hidden and their value. Discovery requires each person to fill out financial questionnaires, provide taxes, and testify to their finances. It will create a comprehensive analysis of marital assets. The court can also compel your spouse to disclose retirement statements and pay stubs. During the discovery process, an attorney can ask about any assets relevant to the divorce. This is useful in providing a complete picture of all marital assets and your spouse’s assets.
While discovery is undoubtedly helpful in determining whether any assets are missing, it is still important to be tactful during the process. Both spouses must fill out financial questionnaires, provide taxes, and testify about their finances. One spouse can choose not to be forthcoming in their responses. Therefore, the picture painted may reflect how honest each person is. It’s imperative to also use experts to uncover an independent view of your spouse’s financial picture.
A forensic accountant is an expert who can analyze financial records and find patterns of deception or holes. They can pinpoint what assets your spouse has tried to hide. Forensic accountants can use investigative techniques to evaluate complicated financial crimes. Plus, a forensic accountant can draft their findings. For that reason, if you believe your partner is hiding assets, a forensic accountant will provide extremely useful information. They can even find deleted information from a person’s computer.
Get Experienced Representation from an Attorney to Locate Hidden Assets in Passaic County
You should follow your instinct if you believe your spouse is hiding assets. If your spouse is successful in hiding marital assets, then it undermines the value you will receive at the conclusion of the divorce. Speaking with an experienced divorce attorney at The Montanari Law Group can help you uncover any hidden assets and work to obtain everything that you are entitled to in your divorce case. Hiding marital assets in a divorce proceeding can include severe consequences. A person can be fined, jailed, forfeit the entire value of the hidden assets, and even be required to pay all legal bills for their ex-spouse. For this reason, it is imperative to know your rights and have a skilled lawyer on your side as soon as you suspect that there may be hidden assets in your case. Contact 973-233-4396 to speak with a divorce lawyer at our Passaic County law firm as soon as possible. We are here to advise and assist you as we have done for many other clients in similar situations in Wayne, Ridgewood, Paterson, Clifton, Haledon, and throughout Passaic County, Essex County, Bergen County and northern New Jersey.