In the same way that no two marriages are exactly alike, no two divorces are exactly alike. There are a variety of situations that lead to divorce, that surface during a divorce, and that must be resolved during a divorce. Finances is one.
In some divorce cases, because of the way a couple agreed to manage their finances, one spouse is unaware of how another spouse has been using the community finances. Either one spouse is in charge of the finances and the other simply trusts the task to be part of the division of labor for the couple, the couple has separate bank accounts, or one spouse has self-employed business assets that are not on the other spouse’s radar.
As a result, there are times when a spouse visits a lawyer looking to file for divorce after discovering that the other spouse has been hiding assets. A divorce attorney will have to help you navigate the steps to recover your portion of those assets.
Below are the steps you can expect the divorce lawyer to take in recovering lost or misused assets.
Step 1 — File for divorce
The first step is to actually file for divorce. Everything else is contingent upon this happening. Your lawyer will help you process the necessary paperwork.
Step 2 — File an injunction
Once the divorce has been filed, it’s important to act quickly so the other person doesn’t have an opportunity to transfer property. Your lawyer will start by helping you file a temporary restraining order that prevents your spouse from transferring assets during the divorce process. That will keep things in check until an injunction ordering the same can be ordered by the court.
Step 3 — Subpoena financial records
After these things have been filed, your attorney will subpoena records from all the financial institutions where you and your spouse’s money is held. Then the attorney will review the documents to analyze the activity and transfers that occurred and whether certain moneys may have been spent on a girlfriend/boyfriend on the side or if a spouse has been wasting community assets in some way.
Step 4 — Depose the spouse in question
With the documentation in hand, the lawyer will then work on getting a deposition from the spouse. The purpose of the deposition is to get them to testify under oath where the money went.
Step 5 — Present the findings to a judge
From that point, your divorce lawyer will present the findings to a judge and request that you recover up to half of what’s been misused, wasted, or spent on an extramarital affair.
Challenges you may face along the way
This article may make it sound like an easy thing to do, finding assets your spouse has kept hidden. In reality, it can be challenging. Finding the assets is limited to what you know. In other words, it’s limited to the financial institutions you know about, and it’s dependent upon the activity having a paper trail (not all being cash transactions). Even private investigators can only act on what you tell them.
The moral of the story is that you need an experienced divorce attorney working with you. You can’t file injunctions or issue subpoenas without help. Lovelace Law attorneys have worked many cases like these, so they know what questions to ask and rabbits to chase to get the best results possible. Call our offices today to schedule a free consultation.