There are many reasons why couples or sometimes just one spouse decides that the marriage is over and files for divorce. Certainly money or the lack thereof is often THE contributing factor to marital discord.
Finances play a big part in any divorce. In Massachusetts, once divorce papers are filed by both spouses or just one against the other, a Financial Statement will be required. Each party under the pains and penalties of perjury must complete and make full financial disclosure to the other spouse and to the Court. Many times the financial statement is the primary basis for judges to determine which assets are subject to division and the income from all sources (overtime, commissions, and bonuses) is used to determine child support and alimony.
But what happens if one spouse is not honest in disclosing all of his or her assets on the financial statement? While it is important that the Financial Statement be accurate, many experienced divorce attorneys do not rely solely on its veracity. Other discovery tools may be necessary or the attorney may recommend and/or hire a forensic accountant to assist. An experienced attorney will review state and federal tax returns, bank statements, 401(k) statements, deferred compensation plans and employment benefits to determine if the income shown is accurate. The attorney may also consider other factors such as how have the couple been living during the marriage? Has the couple bought art, collectibles, expensive cars, jewelry and vacations with cash or have they lived above their means by utilizing credit cards and lines of credit?
Analyzing and completing an accurate financial statement is very important in any Massachusetts divorce. If you are considering divorce and have concerns about finances and potential hidden assets or your spouse’s ability to fully disclose all income, assets and debt, we encourage you to call our office and schedule an appointment with an experienced family law attorney.