As any Georgian who has gone through it knows, property division is an
important part of martial dissolution, allowing both spouses to take away
assets and property from their marriage, which is especially important
when they have spent many years together.
For property division to work properly, though, both spouses should remember
that they are required to fully disclose everything they each own. Full
disclosure is the only way both can obtain a fair share of a marital estate.
Unfortunately, that does not always happen.
A spouse's financial affidavit may not list every asset. To uncover
hidden property or finances, consider hiring a forensic accountant, although
it can be costly. Consider instead other ways to determine if assets are
being hidden during a high-asset divorce.
First, look for a paper trail. Documents such as credit card bills, bank
accounts and checks may show whether a spouse has purchased but not disclosed
jewelry, antiques or artwork.
Also, review credit card statements and tax payments. This may show whether
a spouse paid property taxes or insurance on anything other than marital
houses or other property. Searching public records under a spouse's
name may also reveal any real property that is being concealed.
Finally, if you have to, depose the spouse and get answers on the record.
Judges take a dim view of anyone trying to get away with something and
will put him or her under oath to get at the truth.
In a divorce, the goal of fairly sharing property and assets is sometimes
compromised by a spouse who wishes to conceal them. That party should
keep in mind, though, that failing to fully disclose property can have
negative consequences later. Courts, for instance, look poorly on hidden
assets and may award the other spouse a larger share of assets or properties.