"What can I do and explain my rights if my spouse has been hiding funds preparing for a divorce or wasting marital assets on gambling, drugs, or illicit relationships?"
Generally, missing or hidden assets, what is referred to as marital waste under formal legal terminology, should be attributed to the spouse who is acting improperly. Under the Indiana Divorce Act, a trial court is to presume an equal division of the marital estate is just and reasonable.
This said, a trial court may deviate from the equal presumption in cases of marital waste. For the most part, Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. advocates observe this occurs in drug, alcohol, gambling, or sex addiction.
In addition, in a smaller percentage of cases, the act or omission relating to waste is voluntary, such as secreting assets is voluntary, such as to attempt to remove this from assets for the divorce court to divide. This should fail if this can be established in the trial evidence.
To make this showing, it is sometimes necessary to employ a forensic private investigator or accountant to track the money and spending. This is costly, but may make or break a case.
This is powerful evidence that may lead to a trial court significantly deviating from the presumption to reach a just and reasonable division of the marital estate. A note of caution and consideration is nevertheless warranted.
In cases of addiction, it may be the situation where the money is spent and there is no fund for the divorce court to deviate from the presumption. In addition, the wasteful spouse may file bankruptcy, thereby undoing an viable claim, making an judgment unforceable.
A prudent litigant should consider marital waste and the expense of tracking it for evidentiary purposes against the actual costs of the forensic analysis. With this, the conclusion may be reached that the claims are viable and there is a source from which to be made whole, such as by deviation, or no such source exists.
To avoid further victimization in domestic cases, Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. advocates urge a reasoned approach and caution in every such case. A dollar spent to validate waste, where there is no ability to recover for it, is a dollar lost. Can Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. advocates assist you with this matter?