Out of spite, selfish motives or a sense of entitlement, some people will go to extraordinary lengths to hide property from a spouse. Sometimes the spouse has kept secret accounts or gradually stashed wealth over many years. Other times spouses transfer assets in anticipation of a looming divorce or fail to fully declare their income for purposes of child support and alimony.
This is one of the most difficult areas of divorce law. It is highly confrontational and requires a substantial investment in outside experts. The attorneys of O'Brian & Associates are up to the task. We routinely address this issue in high asset divorces, representing the spouse seeking to uncover hidden assets or the high earner who is trying to protect his or her separate property. Give us a call today to schedule a confidential consultation about your case.
Under Washington law, all property goes before the court for consideration in dividing the marital estate. Despite a legal mandate to divulge assets and revenues, it is very difficult to prove suspicions that a spouse has not been forthcoming. The discovery process is a powerful tool, but even then we often have to subpoena records and hire CPAs, forensic accountants, financial planners or private investigators.
Our experienced lawyers will give you an honest assessment and cost-benefit analysis before engaging in a full-bore search. In most cases, there will be financial indicators or a strong intuition, such as fishy transactions or a telltale drop in reported income. We look at pay stubs, bank records, tax returns, receipts and other available evidence, including emails, texts and phone calls.
Even with attorneys and experts digging, some buried assets do not surface until months or years after divorce. We commonly write into the decree that our spouse be automatically awarded at least 50 percent of any assets discovered after the fact.
Uncovering hidden wealth comes down to case management. Our thorough, methodical approach makes it worthwhile to follow up on your suspicions. In many cases, catching a spouse in lies or revealing undisclosed assets earns the ire of the judge or spurs the deceptive spouse to come clean in negotiations.
O'Brian & Associates serves Eastside communities and the Greater Seattle area. To discuss asset discovery in a confidential consultation, call us (425) 276-7677 or email our firm today.