Dividing marital property is one of the most contentious and stressful parts of divorce proceedings. Florida law uses equitable distribution guidelines to determine how marital property is divided in a Florida divorce. Equitable distribution seeks to divide property fairly and evenly between spouses, not 50/50.
Marital property is anything the couple purchased, obtained, or gained value during the marriage. All marital property is subject to equitable distribution. Due to this, a spouse may attempt to hide marital property to avoid having to divide up assets. Here are some signs your spouse may be hiding assets from you in a Florida divorce.
Sudden Changes in Financial Behavior
Sudden changes in how your spouse handles finances may be a cause for concern. This could include withdrawing large sums from a joint account, paying off debts to family and friends that weren’t a priority before filing for divorce, making large purchases or investments, or transferring funds into new accounts.
Business Ownership Changes
If your spouse owns a business and attempts to adjust their ownership level, it may be an effort to avoid dividing the business’ value during divorce proceedings. Your spouse may try to completely transfer ownership or sell assets to diminish the business’ total value. Certain business transactions could be other signs of attempting to hide assets, like using business funds to make large purchases or using personal finances for business expenses.
Refusing to Provide Financial Information
One tell-tale sign that a spouse may be hiding assets is by refusing to provide necessary financial information to the court promptly. Each spouse must submit financial documents to the court, such as income information and asset values. You will also need to sign a financial affidavit to ensure the documentation is factual and accurate to the best of your knowledge. A spouse hiding assets may assert they cannot locate or obtain relevant documents or delay submitting them for a significant period. If this happens, you may need to file a Motion to Compel to get your spouse to provide the necessary information.
A spouse may intentionally provide false information when submitting documents to the court, such as undervaluing assets or overvaluing debt. A red flag may be if your spouse submits paperwork showing their total expenses outweigh their income.
Consequences for Hiding Assets
Hiding assets during a Florida divorce is a serious matter. If your spouse intentionally provides inaccurate or false information on financial documents, they could be charged with a penalty of perjury. Perjury charges are misdemeanors and come with fines and even jail time. If it’s proven that your ex-spouse hid assets from you, a judge may order them to be returned and their total value awarded to you. Other consequences include your ex-spouse having to cover your legal and attorney fees.
Contact the Orlando Divorce Attorneys at Conti Moore Law Divorce Lawyers, PLLC for Help Today
If you suspect your spouse is hiding assets from you during a divorce, it is vital to seek guidance from an experienced attorney immediately. Our team can help you investigate the possibility of hidden assets to ensure you get a fair settlement and marital property is split according to Florida law.
Conti Moore Law Divorce Lawyers, PLLC
815 N Magnolia Ave Suite 100
Orlando, FL 32803