Equitable distribution of marital property is required by North Carolina during a divorce action. To facilitate this process, both spouses are required to make full financial disclosure of all assets and liabilities as of the date of separation.
This includes all property—not just marital property. If you believe your spouse has undisclosed or hidden assets, your divorce attorney can compel discovery of these assets. Your spouse could also be sanctioned by the court for failing to disclose assets.
The discovery phase is used to allow each side of a case access to certain evidence. The court has the power to compel discovery if a party refuses to comply with a discovery request.
Your attorney can request financial documents or ask to question your spouse about their financials during a deposition. Depositions are made under oath, and your spouse could therefore face serious consequences if they give untruthful answers to your attorney’s questions.
In some cases, a forensic accountant can also be used. By scrutinizing documents and tracking funds, they can sometimes uncover hidden accounts or assets.
How Assets Are Hidden
Property, money, or assets can be hidden in a variety of ways. One spouse can simply acquire assets or open accounts and never tell the other spouse. They can use paperless statements or have mailings sent to an alternate address to avoid tipping off their spouse.
Transfers can also be made without the consent or knowledge of the other spouse. Friends, family, or business partners may be given assets in order to keep them out of the divorce. Sometimes, there is an agreement that the assets will be returned once the divorce is completed.
These schemes can also be much more complex. Foreign accounts can be used to hide funds. Business owners also have more opportunities to create fake expenses or divert a portion of their profits into a lock box or secret account. These issues are obviously more common when one spouse has almost total control over the household finances and the other spouse is entirely in the dark.
Almost all assets or income acquired during your marriage are marital property, and should be subject to the equitable distribution laws of North Carolina. If you believe that your spouse has not made a full financial disclosure, inform your divorce attorney right away.
King Law Offices is a full-service law firm with an outstanding team of professionals who work diligently, creatively, and compassionately on behalf of our clients each day. We serve the Upstate of South Carolina and Western North Carolina. Call 888-748-KING (5464) today to set up a consultation with one of our dedicated family law attorneys.