What to do when you think your ex is hiding assets
In a Wisconsin divorce, the court is responsible for ensuring that the couple’s property and debt are divided equitably. To make sure everyone is treated fairly, Wisconsin law requires both sides to fully disclose their financial information to one another. That being said, there can be situations when one person hides assets to avoid having to split them with their soon to be ex. This dishonest behavior is not only unfair; it is also illegal, and could result in severe consequences for the concealing party.
A person’s reasons for hiding assets can vary, but often it is a matter of one person believing that the other does not deserve any part of the property. It could be that the hiding spouse blames the other for ending the marriage or that they believe they are more entitled to keep it. Sadly, it may be the product of pure greed. Whatever the reason, the court will not tolerate this behavior. Equitable division requires an honest and complete view of the parties' assets, and there are no valid excuses for concealing marital property.
Under Wisconsin law, an individual who tries to get away with hiding joint assets can be charged with fraud and otherwise penalized by the court. In fact, if a party intentionally or negligently fails to disclose information, any asset with a fair market value of $500 or more, could be awarded to the innocent spouse or he or she could get a disproportionate share of the couple’s property. Additionally, once a party has been caught lying to the court, the damage to their credibility will remain throughout the rest of the case.
The more you know about your marital finances, the better your chances of noticing when something is missing during your divorce case. However, sometimes one person may control and know more about the couple’s finances than the other. Additionally, it’s relatively easy for anyone to set up an independent account without ever telling their spouse. If you suspect that your former spouse may be hiding assets, you should consider meeting with an experienced divorce attorney to discuss the matter and consider your options. It is not uncommon to hire forensic experts to help find missing assets.
Attorney Karyn Youso has extensive family law experience and understands the financial issues which can come up during divorce. We are here to help you consider your choices and options. Contact us at First Look Family Law today to schedule a consultation and let us take a “first look” at your situation.