Under Tulsa, Oklahoma law, hiding assets in divorce is illegal. Once your divorce petition is filed with the court, an automatic temporary injunction goes into effect. That injunction prohibits either spouse from hiding assets in divorce, whether personal or marital.
How Spouses Generally Hide Assets
When a divorce is anticipated, many spouses attempt to hide assets to avoid sharing those assets in the divorce settlement. Some typical ways this is done include titling a vehicle or other property in someone elses name or giving possession of some asset to a relative or friend, and repaying nonexistent debt with the understanding that the asset or funds will be returned once the divorce is final.
Other methods include placing valuable items in a safe deposit box that the other spouse is unaware of, drawing cash from debit cards when purchases are made and hiding the cash, and unreported income on financial statements and tax returns.
These are just a sampling, there are many other ways that a spouse can attempt the process of hiding assets in divorce.
What You Can Do
If you believe that your spouse is hiding assets, you should speak with your Tulsa divorce lawyer. There are legal methods that can be used in an attempt to find those assets, including interrogatories, requests for production of documents, and depositions.
Interrogatories are questions aimed at discovering the hidden assets that are compiled in written form by your divorce attorney and sent to your spouse. That document is generally accompanied by a request for production of documents related to the questions and to other personal or marital assets. Your spouse must answer those questions and produce the documents requested within a certain period of time.
Depositions are meetings that are scheduled out of court where your spouse will be required to answer your attorney’s questions while under oath and with a court reporter present.
In addition to the other methods mentioned, your lawyer can subpoena records from banks or from any other place or person that he or she believes may have information that is relevant to the hidden assets.
To begin the process of discovering where your spouse is hiding assets, you should make a list of the cash and other items that you believe are missing.
You should also make a list of people or businesses that you feel your husband may have used, including names, addresses and account numbers, if known, and make a copy of all documents, such as bank statements, etc., that you are in possession of.
All of the documentation that you have created and gathered should be given to your attorney so that he or she can begin the process of finding missing assets.
What You Can Do If You Have Not Yet Filed For Divorce
There are some steps that you can take if you feel that your spouse is hiding assets before you have filed for a divorce. You should take an inventory of all of your personal and marital assets that have value. For example, real estate, jewelry, bank accounts and valuable collections.
You should then make an appointment with a reputable Tulsa divorce attorney who can assist you in preventing your spouse from hiding assets.
What Will Happen if My Spouse is Caught Hiding Assets in Divorce
If the court finds that your spouse is hiding assets, it can order him or her in contempt of court. The punishment can include up to six months in jail, a $500 fine, or a combination of the two.
In addition, you could be awarded an amount in cash or assets to offset the value of the assets that were hidden or disposed of, and your attorney’s fees in relation to your efforts in finding the hidden assets.
Free Consultation: Tulsa Divorce Attorney
If you believe that your spouse is hiding assets, you should contact a Tulsa divorce lawyer as soon as possible. He or she has the knowledge and experience to assist you in locating hidden assets and helping you obtain an equitable settlement.
Call Divorce of Tulsa Law Office at 918-924-5526. Your free consultation will be confidential.