Hiding Assets in the Case of Divorce

In some marriages, one spouse might have control or knowledge of the finances while the other spouse does not. When marriages like this end in a divorce, the settlement can be complicated when the dominant party/(“in-spouse”) doesn’t disclose all separate and community assets. In such cases, lawyers can obtain financial information through a process known as “discovery.”


Before the court divides assets, the process of discovery is very important in order to get a complete financial picture of the marriage. Even if no foul-play is suspected, it’s imperative to have all marital, separate, and comingled property accounted for. In essence, lawyers use five methods of discovery to obtain financial information:


1.) Document demands – Attorneys can ask for a variety of specific financial documents from the opposing party: bank statements, tax returns, loan applications, property titles, capital gains reports, etc.


2.) “Interrogatories” and “requests for admission” – An attorney can deliver an interrogatory, which asks the opposing party questions related to a dispute. Or, attorneys may propound requests for admission, which ask the opposing party to “admit” to certain facts. Both are sometimes used when one party suspects, but has no proof, that his/her spouse has certain valuable hidden assets.


3.) Inspection demands – This method of discovery requires one party to reveal assets hidden from physical view, such as items in a safety deposit box, an expensive wine collection, or fine art hidden at a third-party location.


4.) Testimony under Oath – If there is incomplete information or other parties are involved in the finances, an attorney may ask for oral testimony known as a “deposition.” In a deposition, the court records statements by spouses (under oath), and could include witness statements made by family members, friends, and/or business partners.


5.) Subpoenas – Attorneys can also use subpoenas to view retirement plans, bank and non-bank records, as well as call upon experts.


No matter what side you’re on in a divorce settlement, it is crucial to have an attorney skilled in the process of discovery. The process is complicated as there are numerous procedures that an attorney must navigate, and a fair settlement under the law is best achieved with the help of a skilled attorney.


Castleton Law Group
(626) 810-9300
17800 Castleton Street, Suite 630, City of Industry, California 91748