Barbara J. Katzenberg, Attorney at Law
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Unearthing hidden assets for a divorce's property division

More often than not, Worcester divorcing couples put a premium on the emotional aspect of divorce. Of course, this is a foregone conclusion since marriage dissolution can be very emotionally charged. However, there is another aspect that needs more scrutiny: the financial aspect.

A forensic accountant, who is also a book author, recently shared somes ways to detect possible hidden money and assets in a divorce. Massachusetts, like other states, requires couples to fully disclose bank accounts, real property, business assets and everything they own for valuation. Included under the proverbial microscope is the scrutiny of the income of both parties. Scrutinizing income is crucial in property division since the capacity to earn is a primary basis for spousal support and child support settlements. This is an essential part of property division. It can be tricky, though, as some parties have developed ways to conceal assets that can even fool the Internal Revenue Service.

The forensic accountant shares a proven approach that would-be ex-spouses often use to hide money: understatinge revenue or inflatinge business expenses. Mostly done by self-employed professionals like business and restaurant owners and doctors, this involves using specialized software, as well as taking cash payments.

Other unethical techniques include a sudden decrease in profit coinciding with the start of divorce proceedings and a seemingly steady flow of finances that does not correspond with the person's income. Scrutinizing income is crucial in property division, since the capacity to earn is a primary basis for spousal support and child support settlements.

Fortunately, while the IRS may not be privy to these practices because of the apparently legitimate books, most judges are already well aware of this approach. Regardless, an individual who suspects a lack of disclosure in property division may find the need for an experienced private investigator experienced family law professional with extensive knowledge in property division.

Moreover, legal assistance may help a person to shed light on which property is considered marital and which is separate property and the intricacies of equitable division.

Source: Bloomberg, "Hunting for Hidden Cash in Divorce Proceedings," Ben Steverman, June 4, 2013

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