The divorce process relies on both sides to disclose all of their assets and relevant financial records to allow judges to make fair decisions about the division of property. When one spouse hides assets or wastes the marital assets on purely personal pleasure, it threatens to undermine the entire system.
Uncovering Hidden Assets
One of the advantages of the legal system is the tools available to uncover evidence. If you suspect your spouse is hiding assets, you will need some help finding the truth. Experts such as forensic accountants and appraisers may be needed to value property and find clues about missing money.
Through the discovery process your lawyer will be able to subpoena documents and financial records, conduct a deposition of your spouse, and in some cases question other people close to your spouse.
It is important that obey the law when trying to find hidden assets. It may be tempting to try and guess your spouse’s email password or online bank password, but such activities could land you in criminal trouble. A judge would probably exclude any evidence you did gather illegally, making those efforts worthless.
Making a Claim of Dissipation
In addition to hiding assets, sometimes spouses in a divorce, or in a failing marriage, go on wild spending sprees. If your spouse spent significant marital resources on a new romantic interest, a substance abuse addiction, excessive gambling, or extravagant personal expenses, you may have a claim for dissipation of marital assets. Dissipation means your spouse is wasting marital assets without your consent for his or her personal enjoyment.
If a court finds one side has engaged in hiding assets or dissipation, the financial consequences can be severe. Judges can hold a spouse in contempt of court for failing to be honest about finances. In the case of dissipation, judges will order the spent money repaid to the other spouse. Both dissipation and hiding assets can affect how a judge divides the marital property.
Judges are required to split the marital property equitably. This does not mean equally. Instead, equitably means dividing the property fairly given different factors and circumstances.
If you have questions about property division, support, or any other divorce issues, you need to speak with a skilled and experienced DuPage County divorce lawyer. Call the firm of Mulyk Laho Law, LLC today at 630-852-1100 to setup a consultation.