If you end up in court in Virginia for property division proceedings, you, of course, want to make sure you receive all that you have a right to under state guidelines. It is important, not only to consider your immediate needs as you move on in life without your spouse, but also to think ahead regarding your future financial status, provisions for your children (if applicable in your case) and your ability to sustain the lifestyle you had during your marriage.
In a high-value divorce, certain challenges may arise, especially if your ex tries to pull off a hidden asset scheme. Hiding assets in a divorce constitutes perjury. The court frowns upon unlawful behavior and may hold your ex in contempt of proceedings if you present evidence to show that he or she has not fully disclosed assets and liabilities or has tried to stash cash or beat the system so that you get less than you should receive in your divorce.
Where to look for hidden assets if you suspect it in your divorce
Did you recently discover money missing from a bank account you own jointly with your spouse? This is often one of the first signs of hidden assets in a divorce. The following list shows other places you will want to look if you suspect that your spouse is trying to pull the wool over the court’s eyes in property division proceedings:
- If your spouse’s financial affidavit lists an income amount that you believe is less than the actual amount, you or your attorney can request pay stubs and tax documents from his or her employer.
- It is wise to review tax returns if you suspect that your spouse is hiding money through overpayments on income tax.
- Asking other people to corroborate your spouse’s story may be necessary, such as if he or she claims to be paying back a debt that you knew nothing about or is making a supposed loan to a friend or family member.
- Double check the values assigned to assets such as vehicles, artwork, real estate or jewelry by having a professional valuation done.
A forensics accountant can help you do a deep dive into your spouse’s finances, as well as make sure his or her financial affidavit checks out. A forensics accountant is also able to testify in court if necessary.
Investigating hidden assets is not mean — it’s a way to protect your interests
If you suspect that hidden assets are undermining your divorce proceedings, it is best to investigate the matter further rather than sit back and do nothing for fear of causing a stir. You have a right to receive the maximum settlement to which you deserve under Virginia law. You do not have to settle for less.