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Hidden Assets and Divorce

It is not uncommon for litigants in a divorce to claim that the other party is hiding assets.  This is especially true in cases where a party owns a business or has significant investments.  Typically one party claims the other is hiding assets, absent any real proof.  It is the job of the attorney and the party to attempt to uncover any assets as well as ascertain the truth or veracity of the financial disclosures. Commonly, the attorney will utilize verified financial disclosures and discovery methods of interrogatories and request for production of documents to ascertain what assets are involved, both marital and non-marital.  This method requires the party to provide a list and proof of all assets. Often clients will simply state, "He made $1,000,000 last year and we don't have any money."  A quick primer in gross income v. net profit can be very revealing.  After we know the amount of income, we need to deduct all reasonable costs associated with the business: overhead, employee wages, cost of goods, taxes and the like.  The income is not necessarily relevant to the net profit of a company, nor the value. IF you suspect that your spouse is hiding assets, often you can be your own best private investigator.  Copying bank statements and other financial account information can prove essential in determining if assets are being secreted.  You should ask your attorney if he/she has experience in uncovering hidden assets.  You should also inquire if the attorney has business valuation experience or if they suggest hiring a CPA or other professional in determining the value of a business.  Hiring the right business evaluator or forensic accountant may be essential in discovering actual value and assets. If you have questions you should schedule a consultation with an attorney.  Having practiced family/domestic law in Northern Kentucky for over 19 years, with a background in business and degree in Business Economics, often the value of a company can be ascertained by review of financial statements, asset/debt balance sheet, and tax filings.  Other times, an accountant is required to set the valuation or to aid the parties in agreeing.  If you wish to schedule a consult, call Michael Bouldin at 859-581-6453.

 

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