Michigan isn’t a community property state, so marital assets are divided equitably as opposed to equally. Nonetheless, spouses must disclose their personal assets when asked during the divorce proceedings. Otherwise, lying under oath is perjury and subject to legal consequences, including fines, fees, and legal charges. One spouse may discover red flags that their partner has been hiding assets, but you can’t always rely on your attorney alone to discover the truth. That’s where the right Michigan private investigator comes in handy. But what will they look for?
Tax returns are among the best and easiest places to start to uncover hidden assets. A sneaky spouse may attempt to hide extra income from their partner, but they’re less likely to try to keep it from the government. It’s always best to sift through at least five years worth of returns to see if anything jumps out. Under-reported income can’t be used in a financial analysis while over-reported income can be collected as a refund once the divorce is finalized.
The County Tax Office and Local Courthouse
Loans can interfere with expected income and future child support rulings. While a good private investigator can easily run a child support asset search, discovering your children may have to suffer due to your ex’s personal greed can be heartbreaking. Any loans granted from a banking institution or mortgage company will be on file at the local courthouse–regardless of whether the loan was granted. Any property purchases–real estate homes or land–will be filed through the county tax office. Since it’s illegal to lie on those documents, all pertinent information regarding income, assets, property ownership listings, addresses, and taxable value of such property will be easily accessible.
Secret or Extra Bank Accounts
It’s not difficult for a competent Michigan private investigator to find hidden financial accounts in your spouse’s name. But many spouses opt to hide money right under their partner’s nose. Secret investments and high-end purchases can be cashed out or sold later once the divorce is final. When you have doubt regarding extraneous spending or money hoarding, look through canceled checks and scan deposits and withdrawals of any joint accounts or other accounts of theirs that you have access to. Even if you don’t have personal access, the professional assigned to your case can still uncover hidden assets if you provide the right financial documents.
Friends, Employers, or Other Third-Party Helpers
It’s not uncommon for friends, loved ones, and even an employer to help your ex hide money. They can easily do this by creating a phony debt deal. Over the course of weeks, months, or even years, you may even witness your spouse making payments to this person. The trick is that the money is then returned to your ex once the divorce is final. A boss may also wait to pay bonuses, raises, or other work-related benefits until the divorce is final. If there’s no documentation of those bonuses, there’s no way they can be added to settlement negotiations. Sure, you could uncover some of these assets yourself, but the right Michigan private investigator can do it without the extra headaches. Give us a call when you’re ready to make sure you’re getting your fair share.