GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan. In a brilliant investigative report, the New York Times carefully documented how one wealthy man allegedly hid millions of dollars in offshore accounts, and trusts. By using sophisticated financial instruments, he was allegedly able to lower his tax burden—and also, allegedly hide away millions from his future ex-wife. These instruments are typically used to shield individuals from U.S. taxes. Yet, these same instruments can be used to hide one spouse’s wealth from the other. In some cases, individuals hire financial planners with the express purposes of making it appear that they earn less money than they in fact have. While most divorces don’t often involve millions of dollars, financial instruments can be used as a tool when spouses are pitted against one another in court.
While hiding assets during a divorce is illegal, if your financial portfolio is complex, it may be wise to hire a qualified Michigan divorce attorney, like the family lawyers at Gordon & Hess, P.L.C. Today, wealth may be spread amongst many assets, from vacation properties, life insurance, and business holdings. According to Forbes, many women may not know their full net worth. In some cases, husbands may not reveal their true net worth. Yet, a qualified divorce lawyer can look at your lifestyle prior to divorce to help you fight for the settlement you may deserve. If you have questions about child support, having a qualified family lawyer on your side can also protect your children and ensure that they get the support they may deserve.
For instance, according to Forbes, individuals can hide assets by purchasing expensive antiques as investments that could easily be overlooked during a divorce. In other cases, individuals underreport their earnings on tax forms. Divorce attorneys also watch for individuals who overpay the IRS and who defer earnings and bonuses. By doing this, a person can avoid being assessed for these assets prior to divorce and then keep the money later. In other cases, stocks can be transferred or money put in a trust.
Unfortunately, generally, the fight falls on the partner with fewer financial resources. However, a strong divorce lawyer may be able to take a close look at the financial situation and fight on your behalf. A divorce attorney in Grand Rapids, Michigan can help you to understand your legal rights and responsibilities during a divorce and can perform legal investigations to determine a spouse’s net worth.
At the end of the day, listen to your lawyer’s advice. If he or she recommends hiring a private investigator or forensic accountant—do so. It can be difficult or even illegal to look into your partner’s business or personal matters on your own, so hiring someone to legally perform an investigation can give you a strong advantage when fighting for a fair settlement in court.
If you are facing a difficult divorce or suspect that your spouse may be hiding assets, it is important to act quickly. Visit http://gordonhess.com/divorce/ to learn more about your rights and your options.