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Finding Hidden Assets in a Michigan Divorce

It is crucial to obtain full disclosure of your spouse’s assets if you hope for a fair court order regarding alimony and property division during a divorce. Though Michigan law requires both spouses to reveal all of their assets and liabilities, some people still try to skirt the law in the hope that it will pay off in their favor. If you suspect your ex is being dishonest about the scope of their portfolio, there are a few common “hiding spots” you should be aware of.

Some of the methods people use to hide assets are:

  • Asset transfers — Funds or stocks may be transferred to a third party, such as a friend or family member, to keep them out of a personal or marital account, making them harder to discover.
  • Deceptive purchases — A spouse may purchase items like antiques, art or collectibles that appear less valuable than they actually are, with the goal of offloading them after the divorce and collecting on the investment.
  • False debt — Another tactic is transferring money to a third party to pay off a “debt” that does not actually exist, planning to reclaim the funds after the divorce is finalized.
  • Physical hiding space — Money or property may be hidden in a safe, storage unit, safety deposit box or other undisclosed place.
  • Funneling assets through a business — A person may choose to have their earnings paid to a business entity and to make personal purchases through that entity as a means of keeping their financial activities under cover.

An experienced divorce lawyer knows how to deploy the necessary investigative resources to look for hidden assets. There are various tools of the discovery process that may compel hidden asset disclosure. Your attorney may subpoena your ex or a third party to attend a deposition, may send an interrogatory for your ex to answer in writing under oath or may file a formal request for production of past income tax and business tax returns, bank statements, public records for deed transfers, mortgage closing documents and other financial documents.

A spouse who purposely hides assets during a Michigan divorce may be charged with contempt of court. In addition, all assets illegally hidden may be awarded to the other spouse during equitable distribution, since the act of cheating can be deemed unclean hands.

With more than 40 years of experience as a divorce attorney, I have a track record of finding hidden assets and compelling spouses to comply with the discovery process. If you are preparing for a divorce in Macomb County or the surrounding areas, call the Sterling Heights office of Dawson Family Law PLLC at 833-671-4445 to schedule a free initial consultation, or contact me online.

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    43805 Van Dyke Avenue
    Sterling Heights, Michigan 48314
    Phone: 586-731-7400
    Fax: 586-731-6370
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