Uncovering Hidden Assets During Divorce in New Orleans

Uncovering Hidden Assets During Divorce in New OrleansAlthough divorce is never easy, the situation is even more complicated when one spouse attempts to conceal assets to gain a financial advantage. It’s important to understand the warning signs that your spouse may be trying to hide assets. And remember, our New Orleans divorce attorneys can help.

Why do spouses hide assets during divorce?

There are several reasons why a spouse might try to hide assets during a divorce in Louisiana:

  • Reduce spousal support obligations: Louisiana courts consider both spouses’ income and assets when determining spousal support (alimony). Hidden assets can artificially lower the reported income, potentially reducing or eliminating spousal support payments.
  • Minimize child support payments: Similar to spousal support, child support calculations factor in parental income. Hiding assets can lead to lower child support payments.
  • Protect separate property: Louisiana operates under a community property system. Assets acquired during the marriage belong equally to both spouses. However, some assets might be considered separate property (e.g., inheritances). A spouse might try to hide separate property to prevent it from being divided during the divorce.

Signs your spouse might be hiding assets

While uncovering hidden assets can be challenging, here are some red flags to watch out for:

  • Sudden changes in spending habits: An unexplained decrease in spending or an increase in unexplained cash withdrawals could indicate hidden assets being used to fund an expensive lifestyle.
  • Missing bank statements or financial documents: A spouse who suddenly becomes secretive about financial matters or avoids providing complete financial disclosures might be hiding something.
  • Unexplained business activity: A sudden increase in business travel, new business ventures, or suspicious transfers of business funds could signal hidden assets.
  • Gifts to family or friends: Transferring assets to family or friends just before or during the divorce proceedings might be an attempt to hide them from the division of property.

What to do if you suspect hidden assets in your New Orleans divorce

If you believe your spouse is hiding assets, here are some steps you can take to ensure transparency throughout the process:

  • Gather financial documents: Collect all existing financial documents like bank statements, tax returns, and investment records.
  • Request full disclosure: Through your lawyer, request a complete financial disclosure from your spouse, including all income sources, assets, and liabilities.
  • Work with a forensic accountant: A forensic accountant can analyze financial records, identify inconsistencies, and trace potentially hidden assets.
  • Subpoenas: Your lawyer might need to subpoena financial institutions or third parties to obtain additional information about your spouse’s assets.

Louisiana’s community property laws provide some protection against hidden assets. During divorce proceedings, both spouses are required to disclose all community property (assets acquired during the marriage). However, uncovering hidden separate property (e.g., inheritances) can be more challenging.

How a New Orleans family law attorney can help

Having a dedicated New Orleans family law attorney on your side during a divorce is essential, especially if you suspect hidden assets. Here’s how our lawyers can help with your case:

  • Identify red flags: Our lawyers know how to identify potential signs of hidden assets based on the specific circumstances of your case.
  • Gather evidence: We assist in collecting financial documents, requesting disclosures, and working with forensic accountants to build a strong case.
  • Navigate the legal system: We guide you through the legal process of obtaining subpoenas and presenting evidence in court.
  • Fight for your fair share: With comprehensive evidence, we advocate for your rightful share of marital assets, including any hidden assets uncovered during our investigation.

By working with a skilled New Orleans family law attorney, you can maximize your chances of securing a fair and equitable outcome in your divorce.

Keep these additional tips in mind:

  • Open communication: While open communication with your spouse is ideal, prioritizing evidence gathering and working with your attorney might be necessary if you suspect significant hidden assets.
  • Maintain detailed records: Throughout your marriage, keep copies of bank statements, investment records, and other financial documents. These will be invaluable during divorce proceedings.
  • Don’t panic: Uncovering hidden assets takes time and skill. Trust our lawyers to guide you through the process and advocate for your best interests.

Remember, in New Orleans, we celebrate transparency and second chances. During your divorce, we work toward a fair and just resolution through open communication and a commitment to uncovering the truth about any hidden assets.

Time is of the essence when dealing with hidden assets. The sooner you suspect and address the issue, the better. Assets can be quickly transferred, liquidated, or hidden more effectively with time. By acting promptly and securing skilled legal counsel, you can increase your chances of uncovering these hidden assets and ensuring they’re included in the marital property division.

Divorce is an emotionally charged experience, and the presence of hidden assets can add significant stress and frustration. Remember to prioritize your emotional well-being throughout the process. Seek support from friends, family, or a therapist to navigate the emotional complexities and protect your mental health. Your lawyer can also offer guidance on resources available to help you cope with the challenges of divorce.

Don’t let hidden assets cast a shadow over your fresh start. Schedule a consultation with the Law Office of James A. Graham today. Our New Orleans family law attorneys can explore your situation, uncover any financial mysteries, and ensure a fair and equitable divorce that allows you to move forward with confidence and peace of mind. Call our offices or complete our contact form to schedule your case review today.