During the process of a Pennsylvania divorce, attorneys work with their clients on the process of discovery. During this process the spouses look into each other's financial situation in order to determine how the marital property should be divided and what should be paid in alimony and child support. One concern we face, however, is what happens if the other spouse is hiding assets in order to keep them out of this process. Today's blog post outlines the ways that Pennsylvania divorce attorneys are able to uncover these hidden assets in the divorce process.
Discovery is the process whereby either formally or informally, attorneys are able to gather information from the other side that will assist them in their own case preparation. In the divorce context, this involves discovering the assets and debts of the other side, determining if there are "fault issues" under PA law, determining what the date of separation is, and discovering whether there were any prior agreements or court actions between the parties. Finding if there are any hidden assets is often a key part of discovery, as it necessary for the process of equitable distribution.
Finding hidden assets through the discovery process can be done in a few ways. One of these ways is by reviewing particular documents. These include the schedules attached to tax returns, business records, account statements to compare deposits versus reported income, credit card information, credit reports, and loan documents. Often, information on certain assets is included on these documents that might not have otherwise been disclosed to the opposing party.
Another way to discover hidden assets is by serving a subpoena on a person that is not a party in the case. This is done by giving written notice to the other side, including a copy of the subpoena. Often this method is necessary when documentation of the hidden assets is lacking.
Lastly, discovering hidden assets can be done through use of an expert such as a forensic accountant or a private investigator in your divorce case. This option of course is the most costly, but if the client believes that assets will be uncovered as a result it is well worth the price.
If you have any questions or would like to speak to an experienced Pennsylvania Divorce attorney regarding equitable distribution or any other issues you may be facing in your case, contact our team at Lisa Marie Vari & Associates today.