This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal advice.
Divorce is rarely easy or pleasant. Although there are ways to ensure a smooth and relatively cordial divorce, people sometimes fail to explore these options because they are overcome with animosity and resentment. In these cases, the parties involved endure an adversarial, and emotionally draining experience. If you’re currently going through a divorce, you know firsthand how challenging it is – and it’s a process made all the more challenging when you suspect that your soon-to-be-ex may be hiding assets from you. Whether it’s underreporting income, overstating debts, or hiding property ownerships, such deceptions fall under the umbrella of financial infidelity – an offense more common than you might think.
In 2018, the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE) reported that roughly 41% of American adults who combined finances with their partner or spouse admitted to committing financial deceptions against their partner/spouse. The organization also shared that approximately 75% of respondents said that financial deceit has affected their relationship to some extent.
With that in mind, it’s not altogether surprising that these financially deceitful behaviors sometimes persist when a marriage is coming to an end. But there are steps that you can take to protect yourself against a partner who may be hiding assets from you.
One key method you can pursue is an asset search on your spouse. An asset search is conducted by a law firm or an investigative agency, like Diligence International Group. It’s incredibly hard when someone is actively trying to prevent you from getting the full picture but investigation companies can help by filling in the gaps. They conduct exhaustive research, doing deep dives into assets owned, recent transfers, and hidden holdings. They use an array of methods to ensure a comprehensive report, including searching public records, conducting interviews, and completing database analyses. In the end, what you get is a fully fleshed-out report of the individual’s genuine financial situation.
You may be concerned about the ethics of a hidden asset search. Are you violating your spouse’s privacy in pursuing an investigation? Are there additional legal implications to consider in hiring a third party to conduct this search? It’s completely reasonable to ask yourself these questions. At the end of the day, however, it’s important to remember that engaging a company to conduct an asset search is your way of reclaiming control over the situation and ensuring legal justice. After all, hiding assets isn’t just immoral – it’s illegal.
In divorce-related legal proceedings, both parties are generally required to sign financial affidavits, which are legal documents that act as the parties’ sworn oath under penalty or perjury that they are telling the truth about their finances. Therefore, when one person hides or misrepresents certain details about their financial status, they are violating the law and can be subject to significant penalty. A judge can impose financial penalties on the perpetrator and, in some cases, can sentence them to jail time.
It bears repeating: divorce is rarely easy or pleasant. But recruiting legal aid and pursuing strategies like asset searches can help to ensure fairness in your divorce proceedings. It may be tough at the time, but securing your own justice can be the first step in creating a new, happy life for yourself post-divorce.
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