Asset Tracing and Divorce in Florida: What is it is and Why it Might Be Needed
Are you getting a divorce in Pinellas County? It is imperative that you have all of the financial information that you need to protect your rights and your interests. Your spouse has an obligation to make full and comprehensive financial disclosures. Unfortunately, in some cases, people try to hide property. This is where asset tracing can make the difference. In this article, our Clearwater complex property division attorney explains what asset tracing is and why it might be needed as part of your Florida divorce case.
Background: Parties to a Divorce in Florida are Required to Make Full Financial Disclosures
When a couple decides to divorce in Florida, the law mandates that both parties provide a complete and honest disclosure of their financial situation. For couples with lower assets, there is a simplified disclosure process. For couples with more assets, comprehensive financial disclosures are required unless both parties agree otherwise. There is a specific state financial disclosure form for divorces: Form 12.932. As part of their duty to make financial disclosures, each person must list everything—from bank accounts to real estate holdings to investment accounts to valuable personal belongings.
The Challenge: Not Everyone Makes the Proper Financial Disclosures
Despite the clear legal obligation to make full and comprehensive financial disclosures, the unfortunate reality is that not everyone plays by the rules. In fact, in some cases, a spouse might try to hide assets to avoid sharing them. They might underreport income, overstate debts, or even transfer property to a friend or relative temporarily. Dishonesty can lead to unfair outcomes in the divorce settlement. It is a significant problem because the spouse who plays by the rules may end up getting the short end of the stick.
Asset Tracing Can Help You Uncover Hidden Money or Property
A spouse who suspects hidden assets are an issue in his or her divorce case does not merely have to sit back and take it. Asset tracing is a powerful tool. Broadly explained, it is a process used to track down and value assets that one party may have concealed. Asset tracing methods include:
- Review of Financial Statements: Asset tracing typically starts with an examination of bank statements, credit card records, and investment accounts for unusual transactions.
- Search of Property Records: Another useful strategy is checking real estate transactions to identify any property bought, sold, or transferred.
- Forensic Accounting: Professionals can help. By employing specialized accountants to analyze complex financial records, you may be able to better identify hidden assets.
- Investigation of Business Holdings: Businesses can be used to conceal assets. Looking into businesses owned by either spouse to find any undisclosed income or property.
- Examination of Tax Returns: Finally, the analysis of tax documents can also be used to uncover inconsistencies or hidden income.
Call Our Clearwater, FL Property Division Attorney Today
At the Law Office of Gale H. Moore P.A., our Clearwater divorce lawyer has the skills and experience to handle even the most complex of property division cases. Have questions about asset tracing? We can help. Contact us now to set up your confidential, no obligation case evaluation. Our firm handles complex property division matters in Largo, Clearwater, and throughout Pinellas County.