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How to determine if your spouse is hiding assets during divorce

Going through a divorce can become a protracted and frustrating process. It is difficult putting an official end to one of your most important relationships. If your former spouse is refusing to cooperate, that can make divorcing so much harder than it needs to be. If you have already separated or are estranged, there may be additional complications to your divorce. An estranged spouse may refuse to share critical financial information, which can complicate the process. After all, how can you work toward an equitable distribution of assets if you don't know what marital assets exist?

Even if your spouse is cooperating or you have access to financial records, asset division can be complex. The more assets you have, the greater the potential incentive for your former spouse to withhold or hide assets during a divorce. There are a variety of ways that people hide assets. Sometimes, an individual will withdraw cash in small increments over many weeks or months before filing for divorce. Other times, people may purchase items that have value that their spouse won't have an interest in, in hopes of hiding the value of those assets during the divorce.

Florida law aims to make asset division fair

Florida has a policy of equitable distribution when it comes to marital assets. That doesn't necessarily mean equally splitting all assets. Instead, the courts look at things like income, stay-at-home contributions to the house, earning potential and any cause for divorce, such as abuse and infidelity. Marital assets are generally anything earned or purchased during your marriage.

Just because you never directly contributed to the 401K doesn't mean you aren't entitled to share in those assets from during your marriage. You may have contributed indirectly by caring for your kids or home. You deserve a fair split of assets, which is difficult if your former spouse is trying to hide them.

An attorney can help with locating hidden assets

If your former spouse is trying to hide assets, the easiest way to locate them is to work with an experienced Florida family law and divorce attorney. Your attorney can connect you to a forensic accountant, who can review your financial records to track down assets and locate where your spouse tried to hide them. In cases of assets hidden in non-traditional objects, like memorabilia or collectibles, a forensic accountant may be able to help you determine what was spent on those assets as a means of ensuring that the division process is fair.

If there isn't a purchase record for valuable unconventional assets obtained during the marriage, your attorney can help then, too. Your lawyer can assist by introducing you to professionals who can place a fair market value on unusual assets, from fine art to baseball cards. Doing that makes it easier to determine the full value of all assets. Once you know what assets you have, it's easier to fight for a fair and equitable split.

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