Financial Disclosures, Hidden Assets and Forensic Accounting in Orange County Divorces

When going through a divorce in Orange County, both spouses are entitled to full disclosure of all assets and income that are on the table. The divorce process is intended to be fair, and these mandatory disclosures are designed to ensure that each spouse has the opportunity to obtain the assets and financial support to which he or she is legally entitled.

In some cases, disclosure is a non-issue. Both spouses have a clear understanding of their joint assets and income, and both are comfortable moving forward with the information they have in their possession (although the filing of financial and property disclosures is still required under California law). In other cases, however, gathering complete information is the first step toward making informed decisions. If you have questions about your spouse’s assets or income – or if you have questions about how your spouse has used his or her assets or income – these are not questions to leave unanswered.

We Help Divorcing Spouses Gather the Information They Need to Make Informed Decisions

If you are preparing to go through a high-net-worth divorce in Orange County and you have concerns that your spouse may be hiding assets or income, we can help. We have significant experience dealing with this scenario, and we can use California’s financial disclosure laws to protect you. Our Irvine divorce lawyers can seek to uncover your spouse’s hidden assets through various investigative means, and we can use forensic accounting to find any income or payments that your spouse may be seeking to hide in your divorce.

Mandatory Financial Disclosures in Divorces Under California Law

In California, both spouses must fully disclose all assets, income, debts and expenses at the beginning of the divorce process. The purpose of these disclosures is to ensure that all assets and income sources are known to both spouses—and that both spouses can effectively assert their rights under California’s community property and alimony laws.

At Seastrom Tuttle & Murphy, our divorce attorneys not only ensure that our clients comply with California’s mandatory financial disclosure laws, but we ensure that their spouses comply with these laws as well. With our significant experience handling high-asset and high-income divorces, we are familiar with the red flags for disclosure violations and can advise our clients as to when efforts to uncover hidden assets or income may be necessary.

In addition to preliminary financial disclosures, divorcing spouses in Orange County must also make final financial disclosures as the end of the divorce process nears. Here, too, we ensure not only that our clients meet their legal obligations but that they have a complete and accurate understanding of any additional assets, income, debts or expenses that may have come into play and need to be addressed before finalizing the terms of their divorce.

Uncovering Hidden Assets During a Divorce in Orange County

Spouses attempt to hide assets for a variety of different reasons. In some cases, the goal is to prevent the division of hidden assets under California’s community property law. In others, the goal is to continue to cover up ongoing tax law violations—such as evading federal and state income tax by holding assets in offshore accounts. Whatever the case may be, if your spouse is attempting to hide assets from you (or the courts) in your divorce, this is not something to let stand.

In addition to evaluating your spouse’s mandatory financial disclosures, we can also assist with uncovering any assets that your spouse is attempting to hide during your divorce. This includes (but is not limited to) commonly-hidden assets such as:

  • Bank accounts
  • Retirement assets
  • Real estate investments
  • Stocks, bonds and other securities
  • Business assets and ownership interests
  • Offshore bank accounts
  • Other offshore assets

If you suspect that your spouse may be attempting to hide assets from you, it will be important for you to engage a law firm to get to work promptly. In some cases, acting quickly can be important for minimizing the effort and cost involved in uncovering (and recovering, if necessary) assets transferred offshore or to other parties. Regardless of the circumstances, uncovering your spouse’s hidden assets will be a critical preliminary step in the divorce process. So, the sooner your law firm can get started, the sooner you can shift your focus to bringing your marriage to an end.

Using Forensic Accounting Methods to Uncover Hidden Assets, Income and Transactions

Depending on the circumstances involved in your divorce, it may be beneficial to engage a forensic accountant to assist in uncovering your spouse’s hidden assets, income or transactions. At Seastrom Tuttle & Murphy, our divorce attorneys work with highly-experienced professional forensic accountants in Irvine and elsewhere in Orange County who assist in collecting the financial information to which our clients are legally entitled.

If you believe that your spouse may be hiding financial information, we can explain whether hiring a forensic accountant will be beneficial in your situation. If it will, and if you choose to move forward, we can engage a trusted forensic accountant on your behalf. We will work with the forensic accountant during his or her investigation, and we will use the information he or she gathers to protect your legal rights during your divorce.

Spouses’ attempts to hide assets, income or transactions during a divorce in Orange County can have various consequences. For example, you may be entitled to a larger portion of your community estate, and you may be entitled to have the costs of uncovering your spouse’s attempts to hide information covered. If your spouse is hiding information from you, in addition to finding this information, we can seek all appropriate legal remedies on your behalf.

Speak with an Irvine High-Net-Divorce Lawyer in Confidence Today

If you are aware that your spouse is hiding assets or income, or if you have reason to believe that your spouse may be using assets or income for any improper or unlawful purpose, it is important that you seek legal counsel promptly. To speak with one of our Orange County high-net-worth divorce lawyers in confidence, call us at 949-474-0800 or contact us online now.