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How to find hidden assets in divorce

Under Florida law, you have a right to an equitable distribution of marital property if you and your spouse divorce. However, you can't divide what you can't find.

It's fairly common for people to hide assets. This is especially common among small business owners who deal in cash. Finding assets hidden away in secret savings accounts, safety deposit boxes and cash boxes can be difficult.

If you think a divorce is in your future, it's important to gather information about all of the assets you and your spouse own. If your spouse handled the family finances, you can ask him or her for documents such as account statements and financial records. Tax forms can also provide useful information. Banks typically send 1099-INT forms to account holders annually to report interest earnings.

The discovery process is a good way to get financial information from an uncooperative spouse. Your attorney can compel your spouse to produce specific information, such as account records and safety deposit box numbers. Your spouse can be forced to give testimony under oath. Your attorney can also hire experts such as forensic accountants to help determine if a spouse is diverting cash from a business.

The divorce process can provide your spouse with a strong motivation to be honest. If a judge finds out that your spouse has taken cash out of a business without declaring the income, he or she may order your spouse to turn over your financial records to the Internal Revenue Service.

The Law Firm of Chris E. Ragano P.A. in Tampa represents both men and women in complex, high-asset divorce proceedings.

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