In a Divorce Settlement, What Happens If Your Ex Has Hidden Assets Overseas?

Law Blog

When a marriage that involves at least one high net worth individual fails, divorce can often be complex. Unfortunately, it's not unusual for one party to try and mask the true extent of their asset bank and often by transferring some of those assets to an offshore company or tax haven. What can you do if you suspect that something is not quite right and that your ex may be engaged in such activities?

Full Disclosure

Both parties during a divorce settlement should be completely transparent when detailing their assets. This means they have to include everything held outside Australia, including incorporated trusts, bank accounts in tax havens, or shares in offshore companies. They must make a full and frank disclosure, and all the documentation has to be available to the other party throughout the process. Further, both parties have to give a sworn statement to the court alongside any financial papers, and if they are found to have omitted anything, they may be liable for penalties. In some circumstances, these penalties can be substantial.

Hiding the Paper Trail

Still, it may be difficult to trace some of these hidden assets if the other party has gone about this work with purpose. They may have introduced several different steps to move money or other assets from one location to the other before it arrived at its final destination. Further, they may have brought in a third-party individual who specialises in this type of deception, and it may certainly be difficult to find out what happened without a lot of work.

Putting the Partner on the Spot

Nevertheless, a court can issue an order that requires a former partner to guarantee that they've made full and frank disclosure. They would need to be particularly careful at that stage, as if they were subsequently found to have lied, it would be a serious offence.

How You Should Proceed

In this situation, it's best to bring in a forensic accountant with experience in this area. You should also engage a family lawyer who can, if necessary, issue subpoenas to various parties, such as accountants. Early intervention is a good idea as if your former partner can see that you mean business, they may offer up a lot of the information before things get worse. You never know; the threat of action may cause them to see sense.

For more information on family law, contact a professional near you.


2 February 2022

Break In: Everyday Legal Matters You Should Know About

My name is Jeanette Kennan. I have been a high school legal studies teacher for many years. As such, I am fascinated by legal cases I come across in the media. Family and friends often consult me about minor matters related to the law and although no expert, I can often point them in the right direction. It occurred to me that there may be other people out there who are not aware of basic legal issues. After all, you probably don't think about legal matters related to death, accidents or crimes until you find yourself in a crisis situation. This blog is designed to give you some introductory information about a range of legal topics. Hopefully, it will help you to be prepared and informed should a legal concern arise. I really appreciate you breaking in to my humble little site. Please enjoy.