If you are facing divorce, you probably realize that the more marital assets there are the more complex the process of property division will be.
You may feel concerned that your spouse will try to withhold property that he should rightly transfer to you, which is when the subject of asset dissipation may come up.
The job of a forensic accountant
It is not unusual for a divorce attorney to engage the services of a forensic accountant to ensure that all the assets in a divorce action have been located and identified. This is especially true in high-asset divorces when one party suspects that the other party has hidden assets such as a secret safe deposit box, an offshore bank account or real property. In a similar vein, a forensic accountant may also look into asset dissipation where one party seeks to remove certain assets from the claims put forth by the other party.
The court and possible dissipation
The court must weigh the right of your spouse to freely transfer his property to you against your legal entitlement to that property. If a question should arise about an attempt by your spouse to remove his property from your claim, the court will take several factors into consideration:
- The size of the property versus the wealth of the transferring party
- The source of the property
- The amount of elapsing time between the transfer and the divorce
- The state of relations between you and your spouse at the time of transfer
- Whether your spouse will retain any rights over the property once he has transferred it
In any divorce action, the parties must disclose all assets, which the final judgment must then distribute properly and legally. There may be an opportunity for fraud in the event of asset dissipation, but all you want is what is coming to you. Your goal is to come out of the divorce with a future that is financially sound, and you expect to receive all the assets to which the law entitles you.