Our Michigan Family Law Attorneys Assist with Relocation
Under Michigan divorce law, there are several factors in a divorce that depend upon assessing the value of the marital estate, i.e., the assets that a couple acquires during their marriage. A court needs to know how much all property is worth before entering a final decree regarding property division and alimony.
However, one party may run into trouble where the other spouse is hiding assets in order to avoid having them considered. It’s not possible to make an equitable distribution of property or order spousal support when the value of marital assets is skewed. Fortunately, you do have options for finding property that your spouse is attempting to conceal from the court. A Michigan divorce lawyer can tell you more about your legal alternatives.
Michigan Discovery Rules
The state rules on discovery apply to divorce cases, so you can take advantage of these tools to find out if your spouse is hiding assets or income.
- Requests for Production of Documents: When you want access to paperwork that relates to real or personal property, you can ask for them via this discovery method. Reviewing the documents produced, including tax returns, bank statements, real estate deeds, and interests in a business, can help you identify concealed assets.
- Written Interrogatories: The discovery tool is a way of asking the other party in a divorce a series of questions about marital property. Interrogatories require a sworn statement regarding the truth of the statements made, and they’re the equivalent of testimony in court. There are penalties for providing false or misleading information, giving incentives for your spouse to be honest.
- Depositions: An in-person, face-to-face version of interrogatories, a deposition is a question and answer session with your spouse as the interviewee. Your attorney can ask questions about income and property, whether owned individually or as a married couple. Again, since the proceedings are conducted under oath, there are serious consequences if a party provides false or misleading responses.
Penalties for Concealing Assets
When a person provides incomplete or inaccurate responses to oral deposition questions, written interrogatories, or requests for documents, Michigan’s civil contempt rules apply. Anyone who violates these rules is subject to fines and fraud charges; there are even criminal penalties in extreme cases. In the context of a divorce case, a party that violates the law may be required to pay attorneys’ fees for the spouse that was adversely affected by the false or misleading statements.
Talk to a Michigan Divorce Lawyer if You Suspect Misconduct
State law requires an equitable distribution of property between parties in a divorce, so Michigan statutes offer a method for finding assets that one person may be hiding – as well as legal punishment for misconduct. If you suspect your spouse is not being truthful, it’s critical to retain an attorney with knowledge of the relevant discovery rules and dedication to serving your needs. For more information, please contact Benson & Associates in Southfield, MI. We can schedule a consultation to review your options and answer questions about your case.