Divorce & Hidden Money: Avoiding Mistakes During An Asset Search
The instant post analyzes 2 mistakes I occasionally see divorcing spouses make when they consider whether to search for marital assets hidden from them. It is the 20th post in the “Divorce & Hidden Money” series:
- A One-Size-Fits-All Strategy—Spouses in high net worth divorces may rely on a one-size-fits-all strategy to detect hidden marital assets. As part of this strategy, the divorcing spouses may hire domestic private investigators & domestic forensic accountants to respectively track or valuate marital assets. More than a one-size-fits-all strategy will however, likely be needed if assets are hidden offshore by laundering through multiple jurisdictions. When this occurs, offshore investigators and foreign legal proceedings can become necessary. The foreign legal proceedings may detect hidden assets and can consist of letters rogatory; compelled consent forms; or other legal tools.
- A Wait-and-See Attitude— Many want to wait and see progress in their divorces before spending time & money searching for hidden marital assets. It can take months to gather legally sufficient evidence demonstrating that assets have been fraudulently concealed. Where vast sums of money are concealed in offshore bank accounts, it may even take years to collect bank account statements & account opening documents from foreign bank witnesses. Those who adopt a wait-and-see approach can run out of time to search for marital assets. They especially risk running out of time if they fail to adhere to the Court’s scheduling order for the divorce; & fail to search for assets during the pretrial discovery phase of their divorce.