According to a recent report from CreditCards.com, nearly 7.2 million Americans (including 2.8 million women and 4.4 million men) have hidden a bank or credit card account from their partner or spouse. Financial infidelity or deception is often prevalent in a divorce. With heightened emotions and damaged trust, you may believe that your estranged spouse may be hiding money or assets. If you have reasons to believe that your spouse is hiding assets or income from you, consulting with an experienced Pennsylvania family law attorney is important.
At Iwanyshyn & Associates, we are committed to providing comprehensive legal guidance in the legal matters of divorce and property division. Our attorneys will conduct a comprehensive review and investigation of any joint tax returns, financial accounts, business, and personal transactions. We will work to uncover hidden assets and income and help recover what rightfully belongs to you. Our firm proudly serves clients across Allison Park, Cranberry Township, Allegheny, Pittsburgh, Beaver, Butler, and Westmoreland Counties, Pennsylvania.
Division of Assets in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania is an equitable distribution state. Under Pennsylvania law, marital property must be divided “equitably and fairly” under the circumstances of each case. The following factors may be considered by the judge to determine equitable distribution:
The duration of the marriage
Whether either spouse was previously married
The role or contribution of each spouse to the acquisition and preservation of the marital property
Whether one spouse contributed to the training, education, skill acquisition, or increased earning power of the other spouse
The age, income, health, and employability of each spouse
The standard of living established by the spouses during the marriage
The tax consequences of the property division
Commonly Hidden Assets or Income
Some commonly hidden assets or income include:
Real estate property
Stocks and bonds
Life insurance with cash value
Supplementary income generated from rentals, royalties, or investments
Uncovering the Truth
Hiding assets and finances during a divorce is unethical, sneaky, and illegal. If you suspect your partner of doing this, the first step is to inform your attorney about it. Your divorce attorney will work with a forensic accountant to review and investigate:
Joint tax returns
Complete statements for all of your financial accounts
Any personal or business loans obtained recently
All personal and business transactions
However, your attorney will only be able to help you investigate financial accounts to which you have legal access.
The Divorce Discovery Process
If you believe that your spouse won’t release financial information in your divorce willingly, you can proceed with what is called the “discovery process.” Discovery is the legal process to get financial information and documents. Here are the steps involved in the discovery process:
Request for Documents: Your lawyer can request specific documents from your partner, including financial statements, tax returns, account records, and loan applications.
Written Questions: What’s more, your attorney must provide answers to written questions referred to as “interrogatories” or “requests for admission.” Your spouse can either admit to specific allegations or provide answers to the questions in writing.
Demand an Inspection: you can request to inspect items like safe deposit boxes or a wine collection owned by your partner.
Oral Deposition: Through an oral deposition, you may ask your spouse to give testimony under oath. This requires that you, your partner, and lawyers appear before a court reporter. Your spouse is mandated to answer all questions asked by your attorney.
Having an Experienced Attorney is Key
Hiding assets can make it impossible for the divorcing or separating spouses to come to a fair settlement agreement. Trying to uncover hidden assets or income often involves a lot of complexities. It is important that you work with a knowledgeable family law attorney and forensic accountant for proper guidance and experienced representation.
At Iwanyshyn & Associates, our attorneys combine financial expertise with family law experience to help clients navigate the complexities of divorce and asset division. As your legal counsel, we will evaluate your unique situation and help you understand your legal options. We will fight compassionately on your side to protect your rights and help uncover hidden assets and income. Our attorneys will work diligently to recover what belongs to you and help you negotiate a fair settlement arrangement.
If you believe that your spouse lied about assets or you suspect financial infidelity, contact us at Iwanyshyn & Associates today to schedule a one-on-one consultation. We are proud to serve clients in Allison Park, Cranberry Township, Allegheny, Pittsburgh, Beaver, Butler, and Westmoreland County, PA.