Marriages end for a variety of reasons. Still, because you and your spouse both contributed to the union, each of you should receive your fair share of marital assets. If one partner hides financial information from the other, though, doing so may be exceedingly difficult. Nevertheless, you must know about all assets to better plan for your post-divorce financial future.
In Michigan, judges divide marital property based on what is equitable to each spouse. While this does not necessarily mean that both partners receive half of marital assets, judges attempt to be fair when distributing property. They also take a hardline approach to hidden assets.
Divorcing spouses sometimes attempt to hide assets in a few different ways. They may proactively move money out of joint accounts and into separate ones. Alternatively, they may defer payments until after the divorce concludes. Hiding assets does not have to be so nefarious, though. A spouse may mistakenly forget to disclose marital property. Regardless, hiding assets during a divorce is a serious matter.
If a judge discovers hidden assets, he or she is not likely to be happy. While Michigan law requires judges to take an equitable approach when dividing marital wealth, hiding assets typically overrides this rule. That is, judges may grant total ownership of a hidden asset to the non-hiding spouse. They may also unevenly distribute other assets to punish a spouse for deceitful behavior.
Not only may hiding assets lower the amount of marital wealth a spouse receives, but it is also against the law. A judge may find the asset-hiding spouse to be in contempt of court. Even worse, hiding assets may constitute fraud, perjury or other crimes.
If you suspect your partner is not being truthful, you may need to act quickly both to find hidden assets and to protect your financial interests. On the other hand, if you are considering hiding assets from your spouse, you likely want to rethink your divorce strategy.