Sometimes, a divorce can get nasty, especially if your spouse wants the upper hand financially at any cost. They may even go as far as to hide assets to keep you from getting your hands on them. The discovery process is important in uncovering hidden assets in a divorce.
Discovery in a divorce
The discovery process is part of many litigated divorces. Through discovery, both sides are required to produce evidence and information. Discovery is especially important when it comes to property division.
Both spouses must fully disclose all financial information in the property division process, including all marital and separate assets and debts. This is so everyone has a clear, mutual understanding of what constitutes the marital estate subject to division.
Discovery and hidden assets
Discovery is especially important if you suspect your spouse is trying to hide assets. Your spouse might try to hide valuable assets to keep them out of the divisible estate. Some spouses make purchases that are easy to overlook. They might hide money in secret safe deposit boxes. Through discovery, you can legally demand the production of receipts, financial records and bank statements.
Your spouse might try to use tax returns to hide assets. They might report less marital income than they earned, or they might overpay taxes the year of your divorce to get a hefty refund for themselves after your divorce is finalized. Your spouse could even defer being paid a salary or hold off on receiving a commission or bonus until the divorce is complete as a means of keeping it out of the marital estate, even though it was earned during the course of the marriage.
Through discovery, you can request the production of documents, including tax returns and paystubs and employment information. The discovery process is important to property division in a divorce, especially if you suspect your spouse is hiding assets. Through requests for production, formal disclosures or even subpoenas, you can obtain an accurate account of your marital estate to ensure the fair distribution of assets and debts.