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Beware of hidden assets during a divorce

When serious disputes arise between Florida residents, the relationship between those involved in the dispute can quickly become strained. This is particularly true in contentious divorce proceedings, where it can seem as though a person no longer even recognizes the other individual who was his or her spouse for years or even decades. This may be true both emotionally and financially, as sometimes an individual may be unaware that the other party owns certain assets he or she is trying to keep from being divided in the divorce.

For instance, one man faced criminal charges after he collected $3 million in assets that he had tried to conceal from his former wife in the couple's divorce proceeding. The man reportedly hid the funds in order to keep it from being distributed to his wife, but his fraudulent conduct was ultimately discovered.

The case is an important reminder of how individuals involved in a divorce should be vigilant to ensure their rights are protected. Whether before or during the divorce proceeding, an opposing party can try to hide marital assets to keep for themselves. This can be accomplished in any number of ways, from transferring money to an offshore account, to retitling property or simply relocating tangible assets.

A key part of the divorce proceeding is the discovery phase, where both sides exchange information about the case. Each side has certain disclosure requirements placed upon them, and parties can take other measures to investigate missing assets and uncover potentially fraudulent conduct. By doing so, individuals can ensure that all marital assets are accounted for in the divorce, so that the assets may be equitably divided between the parties.

Source: Washington Post, "How the world's wealthy hide millions offshore - from their spouses," Ana Swanson, April 19, 2016

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