You may be considering using the collaborative process to divorce in a more private, amicable way, but you may wonder: “What if my spouse is hiding assets? Can we use the collaborative process? Will it work if there are hidden assets?”
In the video below, California attorney Pauline Tesler, a founder of interdisciplinary collaborative practice and the first president of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals, addresses hidden assets:
Below is a partial transcript (lightly edited for clarity):
It’s very common at the end of a marriage for suspicion to run high. This is particularly so if there have been lies and emotional betrayals. It wouldn’t be unusual to imagine, “well, if he lied about that” or “if she lied about this,” maybe there are lies about money, too.
This kind of concern is often brought to divorce lawyers. More often than not, we find there aren’t concealed assets. This is so even after doing expensive forensic audit trails that try to find the Swiss Bank Accounts. They don’t very often turn out to be there.
Having said that, in collaborative divorce, we have all of the same tools available that would be available in court to look for hidden assets. We just do it consensually.
In addition, both collaborative lawyers make a commitment that they won’t come to the table unless they are convinced that their own client is acting in complete good faith about full disclosure. So, there really isn’t a downside here.
However, if you have married someone who would lie to the taxing authorities, they are probably going to try to lie in a collaborative divorce, too. The question is, where do you stand the best chance of finding out the facts?
I would suggest you speak with experienced collaborative lawyers to find out how they can answer your questions.
Collaborative Divorce & Hidden Assets in Tampa Bay
I completely agree with Pauline. There are a plethora of tools within the collaborative process. A neutral financial professional, for example, can ensure that your concerns are addressed.
Adam B. Cordover is co-author of an upcoming American Bar Association book on collaborative practice. Further, he is co-chair of the Research Committee of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals.