However, once a petition for dissolution is filed, all bets are off! At this point, even though affidavits are completed attesting to its truth and accuracy, the truth is far from what is being displayed. In many situations, bank accounts and business interests are purposely left off their financial affidavits.
The question is:
What do you do if you know this is occurring or worse case if you are clueless to this deception?
The answer is you have to use every resource you have to uncover the truth.
First, as a divorce attorney, I obtain the bank statements pursuant to mandatory disclosure and scrutinize them to see where money is coming and going. At times what is disclosed is not sufficient to really determine if your spouse is being truthful on their financial affidavit. If I see discrepancies and inconsistencies after reviewing the financial statements I may utilize the skills of a forensic accountant. However, some spouses do not have the financial resources to expend for a forensic accountant. As such, it’s imperative that a subpoena duces tecum be served to certain financial institutions suspected of having a spouse’s undisclosed bank accounts. Upon receipt of the additional financial statements, most attorneys do a thorough and aggressive deposition of the spouse suspected of concealing assets to uncover the truth.
I had a case where the spouse in a deposition denied having certain business interests. When I left the deposition I was not convinced of the spouse’s veracity. At that point, I went on sunbiz.org and found out that she in fact had an ownership interests in more companies then she admitted to at her deposition. The bottom line is when the marriage is over, “to love and cherish” goes out the window and gets replaced by “that’s my money and not yours”.
Filing for divorce should always be the last option. A spouse who is considering filing for a divorce should always seek marriage counseling first. However, if that is unsuccessful, retaining the right attorney who is familiar with the process is paramount.