Finding Hidden Income & Assets
July 8, 2022
In a Louisiana divorce, the spouses must divide their marital assets – property and assets accumulated during the couple's marriage – between both parties equally. However, some dishonest spouses commit financial infidelity by hiding their income and assets from their estranged partners. This is often done so as not to share such assets or income with their soon-to-be ex-spouse.
Fortunately, spouses who suspect their estranged partner of financial infidelity may be able to uncover the truth and find hidden assets through legal assistance. This may involve requesting financial documents, demanding an inspection, or giving testimony under oath. An experienced Louisiana family law attorney can guide you through the divorce discovery process and help you navigate key decisions.
At the Law Office of Ivy L. Graham, we have the diligence and expertise to assist and guide clients in complex divorce issues involving financial infidelity. We're proud to serve individuals and families across Denham Springs, Albany, Colyell, Holden, and Livingston, Louisiana.
Division of Assets in Louisiana
Louisiana follows community property laws. This means that all marital property must be divided equally between the spouses. To determine whether a property or debt should go to a particular spouse, the judge will consider the following factors:
The earning capacity and work history of each spouse
Each spouse's finances
The nature and source of the property
The age, mental and physical health of each spouse
Any alimony awards
Child custody award – to determine who keeps the marital home.
Any other factor deemed relevant by the court to achieve equal distribution.
Hence, to achieve equal distribution, the couples must identify all community or separate property, assign a value to each community property, and uncover any hidden assets and finances.
Commonly Hidden Assets or Income
Some commonly hidden assets before or during a divorce include:
Real estate property
Additional income made from rentals, investments, or royalties
Life insurance with cash value
Stocks and bonds
An experienced Louisiana asset division attorney can conduct a thorough investigation and attempt to uncover any hidden assets and finances.
Uncovering the Truth
Furthermore, Louisiana divorce laws prohibit spouses from hiding assets and income before or during a divorce. If you have reasons to believe that your soon-to-be ex-spouse is attempting to hide their assets or income, you need to reach out to an experienced divorce lawyer immediately. Your attorney can work together with a tax professional and forensic accountant and seek to investigate the following:
Joint income tax returns
Complete financial accounts and bank statements
All business and personal transactions
Any personal or business loans obtained recently
However, during your investigations, only track down areas you have legal access. An experienced attorney can explore your possible legal options and help you get the divorce discovery process rolling.
The Divorce Discovery Process
Discovery is a great legal tool that is usually used by divorcing spouses to unearth hidden assets and finances in a divorce. During discovery, your attorney will help obtain relevant information and documentation about your financial accounts, bank statements, income tax returns, and other transactions. Discovery may involve any of the following methods:
Demand an Inspection – You can request access to any property, location, or belongings owned by your soon-to-be ex-partner for an inspection. These include safe deposit boxes, wine collections, vacation homes, offices, and more.
Request for Financial Documents – Your legal counsel can request specific financial documents from your estranged spouse. These include financial records, bank statements, income tax returns, and loan applications.
Give Testimony Under Oath – Here, your spouse will be called upon to give testimony or answer any question asked by your lawyer under oath through an oral deposition.
Request for Answers to Written Questions – Your estranged spouse may need to answer written questions known as "requests for admission" or "interrogatories." Your partner may admit to certain accusations that are possibly true or give answers to the questions in writing.
A trusted family law attorney can walk you through every phase of the discovery process and help investigate financial accounts, bank statements, and tax returns with legal access.
How a Knowledgeable Attorney Can Help
Unfortunately, hiding finances and assets during a marital dissolution can make it challenging for divorcing couples to achieve equal distribution during the division of property. In order to achieve a fair settlement agreement, all hidden assets and income must be unearthed. Therefore, retaining a skilled Louisiana divorce attorney is crucial for detailed guidance and to protect your best interests.
At the Law Office of Ivy L. Graham, we are committed to offering reliable legal guidance and strong advocacy to clients in divorce-related matters, including property division. If you suspect your partner of trying to hide their assets or income, contact us at the Law Office of Ivy L. Graham today to schedule a simple consultation. We're proud to serve clients across Denham Springs, Albany, Colyell, Holden, and Livingston, Louisiana.