Experienced Miami Divorce Attorney Uncovers Hidden Assets
Capable representation for high-net-worth spouses in Florida divorces
Each party to a divorce must disclose the entirety of their financial assets, but many do not. In fact, some actively scheme to hide assets from their spouse. Sometimes they’ve been doing this throughout the marriage, keeping their spouse and the IRS in the dark. In other cases, the spouse who controls the couple’s finances starts moving assets around in the run-up to the divorce. These actions can deprive the other spouse of a fair share of the couple’s marital estate and may have criminal implications as well. When you retain The Law Offices of Lawrence S. Katz, P.A., you get the benefit of more than 50 years of legal experience in divorce litigation. We leave no stone unturned as we work to uncover the hidden assets that are rightfully yours.
How marital assets can be hidden
Unscrupulous spouses try a variety of schemes to keep assets hidden from their partners during divorce proceedings. Here are some of the most common:
- Conversion — A spouse can try to convert cash into an asset, such as jewelry, an antique or a work of art that he or she can have appraised at a much lower value.
- Custodial accounts —A spouse may try to hide cash by opening a custodial account in the name of a child, using the child’s Social Security number.
- Delayed benefits — Spouses who are entitled to bonuses, stock options or raises often ask their employers to delay conferring the benefit until the divorce is final.
- Delayed business transactions — If your spouse has one or more business contracts under consideration that would infuse his closely held business with cash, he may delay executing the deal until after the divorce.
- Fraudulent transfers — When a spouse sells an asset for less than market value to someone who could be considered a confidant, the purpose may be to frustrate the other spouse’s claim of a fair share.
- Interest-free investments — Investments in municipal bonds or Series EE Savings Bonds yield no interest, so they don’t have to be reported on tax returns. This minimizes the paper trail, so that the non-investing spouse might not know such an investment exists.
- Offshore assets — Situating property overseas is a favorite way to shield ownership. Accounts may be opened for offshore assets in other jurisdictions anonymously, so they would be unknown to the other spouse and to the IRS.
- Repaying a phony debt —If a friend never loaned money to one spouse, repaying the imaginary loan is a transfer designed to frustrate the other spouse’s rightful claim to marital property.
- Paying imaginary employees — In a closely held business, a spouse can create straw employees to siphon company funds to a hidden account.
- Paying off a paramour — When a spouse gives gifts or benefits to a paramour, paid for by funds from the marital estate, that spouse will be held accountable for those funds.
- Unreported income — If one spouse runs a cash business, skimming revenue is a distinct possibility. Failing to disclose this income during a divorce is fraudulent and failing to report it to the IRS is criminal.
As experienced divorce attorneys, we consult extremely skilled forensic accountants who know how to examine financial documents for discrepancies to discern where funds have been removed, so we can take the steps necessary to recover them. If you retain our services before a divorce is filed, we can file a petition requesting an injunction to prevent a spouse from moving assets in anticipation of divorce.
Penalties for hiding assets in a divorce
Parties to a divorce in Florida must sign a financial affidavit, a sworn statement that their financial disclosure is complete and truthful. If a spouse has hidden assets, that spouse has committed perjury, which is a felony. In addition to those criminal charges, a spouse who hides assets from you may have been hiding those assets from the IRS as well. In that case, discovering those assets would put the spouse in jeopardy of federal prosecution for income tax evasion.
Let our Miami divorce law firm uncover hidden assets to protect your property rights
At The Law Offices of Lawrence S. Katz, P.A., we provide comprehensive representation that includes scrutinizing financial disclosures in divorce cases to discover hidden assets. Our office is easily accessible from the Dadeland South Metrorail. Call us at 786-991-2629 or contact us online to schedule a consultation. Se habla español.