Every divorce in Minnesota ends with a court order dividing assets.

Even your DIYvorce will finish with a decree filed to the court. As you and your spouse work through your DIYvorce, the best path involves honesty about your financial situations. For the vast majority of spouses this is a fairly straight-forward notion. You figure out what assets there are to actually divide, and move on. However, it’s possible that some unscrupulous spouses might try to hide assets to keep them from the other spouse.

If you believe your spouse is hiding assets, and attempting to talk to him/her has failed, there is a legal option available to you. You can use the “discovery” process to determine whether are assets have been hidden and sometimes even where those assets have been stashed. Discovery is a process that requires your spouse to answer questions in writing and produce certain documents. In discovery, you can can ask any question that is reasonably designed to lead to evidence that is admissible at trial. You can also request documents, as long as the request is not unduly burdensome. Through this process, you can receive detailed answers about what has happened to certain assets, the location and contents of financial accounts, pay history, or any number of other pieces of information.

If you think your spouse is hiding assets, a detailed review of these answers and documents will usually show particular red flags. For example, if your spouse is suddenly making much larger than necessary payments to creditors, his or her income has gone down without a good explanation, or a family-run business is suddenly doing very poorly or making large purchases, these could all be red flags that your spouse is trying to hide assets or defer income to prevent you from receiving your appropriate equitable share.

For especially complex finances, hiring a forensic accountant might be a good way to uncover your spouse’s hidden assets. Forensic accountants are trained to review particular documents to discover discrepancies and find where the assets are being held. If your accountant does find that assets are being intentionally hidden, your spouse can face harsh penalties, including attorney’s fees and or even being forced to give the entire hidden asset to you.

If you think your spouse is hiding assets, and you’ve attempted to talk to him or her about it, contact your DIYvorce team for help.


 

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