During the early stages of a divorce case, the parties to a marriage dissolution are required by law and order of the court to provide a verified listing of assets and debts. The parties must provide their respective list to the “opposing side” and file a copy with the court as well. A verified listing of assets and debts means that it is filed with the court under penalty of perjury. In New Jersey, this list of assets and debts are included in a Case Information Statement that is required to be filed with the court. Unfortunately, referenced to a perjury penalty sometimes is not sufficient to prevent a spouse in a divorce from filing an incomplete accounting of assets. There are five signs that your spouse may be hiding assets in a divorce case:
- Spouse has a history of dishonesty when it comes to finances
- Spouse has a history of keeping you in the dark regarding finances
- Spouse owns a business
- Spouse has made threats associated with property
- Asset list provided by spouse appears incomplete
Spouse has a History of Dishonesty when it comes to Finances
You may be married to a person who has a history of being dishonest with you in regard to financial issues. The reality is that many divorces arise out of disputes associated with property and debts. If your spouse has an established track record of being less than transparent in regard to assets, you would be prudent to start from the position in your divorce case that your spouse’s asset disclosures are likely to be incomplete.
Spouse Has a History of Keeping You in the Dark Regarding Finances
In many marriages, one spouse plays a primary role in overseeing the couple’s finances. This may have been the proverbial natural state of your marriage. You were responsible for certain matters and your spouse for others, including finance management. Your spouse may not have been dishonest regarding finances in the past, you just were not fully involved with such matters. If your spouse kept you in the dark regarding financial matters during the marriage, that practice may carry forth into the divorce, when your spouse may have an eye on keeping a larger share of property than he or she is entitled.
Spouse Owns a Business
If your spouse started a business before or during the marriage, he or she may have a natural inclination to be less than (or even far from) transparent when it comes to financial issues related to that enterprise. The reality is that, absent a prenuptial agreement regarding a previously existing business, you have a legal interest in such an enterprise. Your spouse may fail to fully disclose assets associated with a business on the pretense that he or she is protecting the welfare of the company. You are entitled to a full and complete accounting of such assets.
Spouse has made Threats Associated with Property
In many divorce cases, one spouse may make threats regarding property. For example, a spouse might assert that unless he or she is given the parenting time (or visitation) desired, that individual will keep certain assets to his or herself. When this type of threat is made, a fair response is to double down to make certain that the spouse who makes such remarks fully discloses assets. The stark reality is that when a party in a divorce threatens to do something untoward regarding assets, that individual many times will follow through on such a threat in some manner.
Asset List Provided by Spouse Appears Incomplete
In this day and age, even in a marriage in which one spouse has primary responsibility for overseeing financial issues, the other spouse usually has a decent idea of what the couple has in the way of assets. If you receive an accounting of assets from your spouse in a divorce that seems incomplete, operate on that assumption until it is proven otherwise.
If you sincerely believe that your spouse is hiding assets, you need to be as proactive as possible to protect your very real legal and financial interests. If you have not already done so, when an issue regarding asset disclosure arises, you are wise to give serious thought to retaining the assistance of a skilled, experienced divorce lawyer. If you have any questions concerning a divorce in New Jersey, contact the Law Offices of Peter Van Aulen at (201) 845-7400 for a free initial consultation.