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Finding Hidden Income and Assets

Steven L. Rotenberg, PLLC  Dec. 26, 2022

American dollar hidden under puzzle pieces.The painful process of divorce brings up many questions that you probably never imagined you’d have to consider. The life you and your ex-spouse had together is behind you, and now you must focus on your future and your finances after the divorce. If there’s any reason to suspect that your spouse is hiding income or assets that you are entitled to, know what to do to protect your financial future. 

With the help of an experienced family law attorney, you can determine the steps you should take. Steven L. Rotenberg will advise you on finding hidden assets during a divorce. He has over 25 years of experience guiding clients in their legal matters, and he can help you protect your future. Steven L. Rotenberg, PLLC proudly serves clients in Bingham Farms, Michigan, as well as Monroe, Pontiac, Mount Clemens, and the metro Detroit area.  

Division of Assets in Michigan 

Michigan law states that assets must be divided according to an equitable distribution. The emphasis is not on a 50-50 split of assets; rather, the division of assets in Michigan focuses on what’s fair to both spouses in each individual divorce case.  
Assets are considered to be either marital or separate property. Separate property belongs to one spouse who inherited it or received it as a gift. Marital property includes all the assets the couple obtained while married. This includes vehicles, real estate, retirement accounts, collectibles, businesses, and more. Michigan law requires that marital property be divided according to an equitable distribution. 

Commonly Hidden Assets and Income 

Some spouses grow defensive or greedy when it comes to assets and income. They want to unfairly influence the division of assets process. They may attempt to hide income or assets from their spouse before or during the divorce process.  

In some situations, a spouse may hide valuables, such as antiques, jewelry, gun collections, and other high-value objects, at their office or elsewhere. In many cases, the spouse will try to hide income.  
Ways that someone may try to hide income include: 

  • Putting the money in a child’s name 

  • Purchasing traveler’s checks to be redeemed after the divorce 

  • Never telling you about a retirement account 

  • Paying a “debt” to a friend before the divorce and the friend returns the payment after 

Business owners may also try to make their business less valuable before the divorce by delaying certain projects or contracts while the divorce is pending. 

Uncovering the Truth 

Finding a spouse’s hidden assets can be challenging, and you will need to take specific steps to uncover a spouse’s hidden income. Protect your financial future by taking these three actions. 

Communicate With Your Attorney 

Inform your attorney of your suspicions that your ex-spouse is hiding income and assets. Tell your attorney what you believe is missing and an approximate value. Keep your attorney informed if you notice any changes or if you realize anything has disappeared down the line.  

You may need to hire a forensic accountant to discover exactly where your spouse has moved assets that you are entitled to receive a share of. Consult with a family law attorney to determine whether a forensic accountant is necessary. 

Only Look Where You Have Legal Access  

Do not violate the law and look for assets in places that you are not legally permitted to look. For example, if you guess your ex-spouse’s password to an account that contains funds from an inheritance, you are likely not legally allowed to have access to that account.  

If your spouse owns property that you do not legally have permission to be on, do not trespass onto that property. You could be penalized for accessing information or property that you did not legally have access to.  

Participate in the Divorce Discovery Process 

During the divorce discovery process, both spouses must provide copies of documentation relating to their assets. Account statements, loan documentation, and tax statements are parts of this process. Your attorney may be able to require that your spouse supply access to property during the discovery process. Your attorney may also be able to require your spouse to submit a deposition regarding his or her income and assets during the divorce discovery process. 

Put Trusted Representation on Your Side 

When you suspect your spouse of hiding income or assets, it’s important to take the right steps to protect your financial future. A knowledgeable family law attorney can help you weigh your options and represent you, in and out of the courtroom, during your divorce.  

Steven L. Rotenberg is committed to aggressively pursuing his clients’ best interests. If you suspect your spouse of hiding income or assets, he can help you get to the bottom of what’s happening. Steven L. Rotenberg, PLLC proudly serves clients in Bingham Farms, Michigan, as well as Monroe, Pontiac, Mount Clemens, and the metro Detroit area. Contact his firm today to schedule a consultation.