Marital Fraud & Hidden Assets
In matters of divorce or separation, the laws that govern each situation are there to guide the parties toward fairness, regardless of what those may be. Where this may have the highest impact is with a property that is acquired during the partnership of marriage. The view of the law in matters of property is that both people hold an equal right to ownership. This does not change when one of the partners does not contribute to the financial stability of the household. However, in certain cases, there may be items that are exempt.
In any scenario, divorces or separations are never easy or pleasant. If there is a financial imbalance between the spouses, there can be an emotional reaction causing the one who is the highest-paid to mislead the other about their own financial standing, especially when that individual takes care of the household finances full time.
What are the signs of marital fraud & hidden assets?
Although it can be difficult to prove fraud, there are often signs that a spouse is attempting to hide assets. These could include:
- unexpected withdrawals from shared accounts;
- large loans given to family, friends, or business partners;
- a lack of transparency with respect to financial decisions; or
- sudden changes in their spending habits and behaviour;
How can I trace hidden assets?
It can be difficult to identify how much your spouse earns from a family business or a professional corporation. The best option is to hire a financial expert to review personal and company records. They can identify assets that could be concealed, such as investments, expense accounts, and other stock options.
What To Do When Fraud Is Suspect
Hiding assets from a partner is a matter of fraud and as such the lawyers that handle martial fraud and hidden assets are knowledgeable enough to find out if one or the other party is committing such an infraction. A forensic accountant is trained to find where hidden assets can be obscured through various methods of financial reports and hidden bank accounts. They look at records such as:
- Tax returns made available through the Canadian Revenue Agency. Here they will identify any questionable entries;
- Assessment of lifestyle;
- Inquire about the possibility of court-ordered judgements based on their finding proof of fraudulent behaviour;
Understandably, hiring both a forensic accountant and a divorce lawyer can seem an extreme financial measure, although it can pay off in the end when there is a considerably large amount of property considered in the case. Moreover, when individuals are identified as acting in a fraudulent manner, the courts often see fit to imbue harsher penalties than would normally take place had they been forthcoming and honest, to begin with.
Contact Us for More Details
For a free consultation with an AGB family lawyer to talk about protecting your rights and understanding your obligations in the event of a divorce, call us today in Ottawa or email us. Want to talk right now? A representative is available for a live chat.