Spouses have a moral and ethical duty to be honest with each other, especially in their financial dealings in a Tulsa, Oklahoma divorce case. Unfortunately, once a marriage begins to unravel, spouses may often try to take care of their own needs at the expense of their spouse.
As the marriage moves closer toward a finalized Oklahoma divorce case, emotions run high and it may be tempting for a spouse to try hide assets in order to try to better their own position. Fortunately, Oklahoma law is designed to prevent that.
Protecting Assets in an Oklahoma Divorce Case
Once papers are filed to start an Oklahoma divorce case, an immediate temporary injunction is automatically put in place to prevent the transfer of assets by either spouse. It also stops the spouses from making significant changes to retirement accounts, insurance, and the like.
The parties to a divorce in Tulsa are under an affirmative duty to make full disclosure of their assets to the court, so that the court may divide marital assets equitably during the divorce process.
Document Your Assets
Going into the divorce process, it is wise to carefully document your financial assets if at all possible. You can make copies of bank and retirement statements. You can also make copies of investment statements if you have them. You can also take photographs of physical items belonging to you both. Sometimes these items are in the home, but other times they may be kept at work or with relatives.
If you suspect that your spouse will or is trying to hide assets in your Oklahoma divorce case, it is best to be pro-active in your approach to proving the net worth of marital assets.
Discovery May Help
Once the divorce proceeding has begun, discovery can begin. If you suspect that your spouse is hiding assets, it is possible to flush those assets out during discovery. There are a number of tools that your Tulsa divorce lawyer has at his or her disposal during discovery that can help do this.
Interrogatories are written questions that your spouse will have to answer. Asset questions are often the subject of interrogatories.
In addition, a Document Production Request is often used in conjunction with interrogatories to have your spouse produce copies of all documents identified in their responses to interrogatories. Often, once these are obtained, depositions of the parties are taken. Your spouse can be asked about assets, and about their responses to discovery.
Your attorney may also be able to subpoena records from other persons or institutions that your spouse may be using to hide assets.
Finally, if your marital assets are worth quite a bit, and discovery only reveals some of them, you may want to consider hiring a forensic accountant to help. This may be particularly helpful, if your spouse’s business or businesses are extensive.
Sometimes, a spouse attempts to hide the true value of a business or may try to hide assets within their business. Forensic accounting, while expensive, may reveal those assets.
If the court determines that your spouse is trying to hide assets, you may be awarded a portion of those assets and your attorney’s fees and costs in whole or part for any motion made before the court in that regard.
Free Consultation with a Tulsa Divorce Lawyer
In any Oklahoma divorce case, it is important to carefully evaluate all the financial assets of the couple and to ensure that the judge is made aware of all the relevant facts that might impinge on his or her determination regarding equitable distribution of the assets.
For a free confidential consultation with a qualified Tulsa divorce lawyer, call the Divorce Law Office of Tulsa today at 918-924-5526.