Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for people to hide assets before telling their spouse that they're filing for divorce. If you're one of those spouses who don't handle the finances and don't have a clue as to what assets your spouse has or where they are kept, you still have powerful legal tools that can help you uncover hidden income and assets.
First, you'll learn about what's categorized as "marital property" and "separate property." Marital property is owned by both of you and separate property is owned by one spouse. Generally, separate property refers to property:
- Acquired before marriage
- Acquired after separation
- Acquired by gift or inheritance
Marital property refers to all property acquired during the marriage, and under California law, spouses are entitled to half of the marital property.
Tracking Down Assets When You Don't Handle the Money
Are you the spouse who didn't handle the finances during the marriage? If so, you're what some attorneys like to call the "out spouse," which means you don't have immediate knowledge or access to the passwords and financial data, but your spouse sure does.
If this describes you, the first thing you should do is simply ask for spouse to give you copies of all the financial records. If your spouse is upfront and willing to supply all the records, you're in luck. But, this rarely happens.
Sometimes a spouse doesn't have all of the records handy but they're willing to get them. In that case, you two can work together to gather all of the information. With so many account statements being available online these days, it should be easy to get account records.
When Your Spouse Isn't Compliant
If your spouse is less than compliant, they could be playing hardball because they're hiding assets from you. Now is a good time to contact an Encino divorce attorney from our office and ask about an asset search and investigation.
We can use legal procedures to obtain the financial information and records. This is known as the "discovery process," which may include document demands, interrogatories, inspection demands, and testimonies given under oath.
Another option is a deposition, which is a great way to get a dishonest spouse to reveal concealed information. If they lie under oath during a deposition, they can be charged with perjury, which can be the exact kind of pressure a spouse needs to tell the truth about hidden assets.