These days, finding hidden assets has become part of the discovery process of divorces because of previous cases wherein one spouse intentionally hid assets just to reduce the other’s share.
But suppose the court does find hidden assets in a divorce case. Will they affect the proceedings? If they do, how so?
The court can award the wronged spouse a greater share
Hidden assets do affect divorce proceedings. Michigan courts divide marital properties fairly and equitably. What the courts consider fair and equitable depends on a variety of factors they can use as guidelines. Nonetheless, judges can still consider other relevant factors, such as hidden assets, when finalizing their decision.
Accordingly, a court may award the wronged spouse a greater share of the marital assets if it finds that the other has been hiding properties. In other cases, courts award the innocent spouse all of the concealed assets to account for the other’s deception.
The judge can also order the guilty party to pay attorney’s fees and costs related to the discovery of hidden assets to the wronged spouse.
The guilty spouse can face contempt charges
During the initial divorce process, the court will require both parties to disclose all assets and financial documents related to their properties. If a party intentionally withholds or hides information about those assets, the judge can hold them in contempt of court, resulting in jail time and fines.
Anticipate all scenarios and protect your rights
Your spouse may not be the same person in marriage and during divorce. You cannot know for sure if they have the capability to hide assets from you. Hence, you should anticipate the worst-case scenario so you can prepare for a solution beforehand.
Nonetheless, finding hidden assets does not come for free. You have to create a plan that will help you discover any concealment while staying within budget. Collaborating with a competent legal team and having them review your situation can help create a suitable discovery plan.