The Penalties for Hiding Assets in a Michigan Divorce
When a couple in Michigan files for divorce, one spouse may attempt to hide assets from the other in order to retain more of the marital estate for him or herself. Hiding assets during a divorce is illegal, and the Michigan family courts take accusations of hiding assets very seriously. If you suspect that your spouse is attempting to hide assets in your divorce, call or contact the experienced divorce attorneys at the Van Den Heuvel Law Office today to schedule a free consultation of your case.
Penalties for Hiding Assets
Michigan law is clear about hiding assets during divorce proceedings that it is wrong and will be met with significant penalties. One spouse is not allowed to hide assets to the detriment of the other in a divorce. This is because Michigan is an equitable distribution state, which means that all marital property must be divided equitably, but not necessarily equally, and failing to disclose a marital asset during this process is considered fraud.
Penalties for being caught hiding assets in a divorce case can be severe. The judge may award the discovered assets to the other spouse or award a significantly larger portion of the overall marital estate to the spouse who has been wronged. The court can also award attorneys’ fees and force the spouse caught hiding assets to pay for all costs associated with the discovery of the deception. If a spouse refuses to disclose all assets during the discovery process, the court can hold that spouse in contempt of court and even jail the spouse until the hidden assets are revealed.
It is also important to note that a former spouse can get in trouble for hiding assets even after a divorce is finalized. Simply because the papers are signed does not mean that the spouse who hid assets gets away with it. If one former spouse finds out that the other hid assets after the divorce is finalized, the spouse who has been wronged can go back to court and have the divorce case reopened to account for the assets that were hidden during the initial process.
How to Discover Hidden Assets
The discovery of hidden assets can happen in a number of different ways during the divorce process. Sometimes, it can be as simple as requesting accounts and other information from the other spouse to check against known assets. Other times, it may require the use of formal discovery methods, such as depositions, interrogatories, subpoenas, requests to produce, and other court motions. Your attorney can hire independent investigators to search for hidden assets as well as forensic accountants and other experts who specialize in finding assets hidden during a divorce.
Call or Contact Us Today
To learn more about the penalties for hiding assets in a Michigan divorce and what your legal options are if you suspect that your spouse is hiding assets from you, call or contact the Van Den Heuvel Law Office to speak with an experienced divorce attorney about your case today.