In December we discussed a lawsuit from out east that involved potential hidden assets in a prior divorce. In general, most divorce issues need to be addressed before the divorce is finalized. Once a case is finalized, a court may be highly reluctant to re-litigate a decided issue. Child support, child custody issues and a few other things are typically the areas where a post-divorce modification may arise.
In a situation where hidden assets may be an issue, legal counsel familiar with hidden assets, or a forensic accountant, can analyze information that may lead to the proper trail to find assets before the case is finalized. In some high-asset divorce cases, the lawyers on both sides may bring in their own forensic accountant to review financial details in family court proceedings.
Obviously, hidden assets are not the only financial issue in a high-asset divorce. Valuation of a business, properties, vehicles and other items is often of concern. Similarly, as we move toward April, reviewing taxes (including past taxes) may be important in determining whether a substantial tax return is coming and subject to property division.
In a number of high-asset divorces, one person may not have been working, or may have had little income during the marriage. Spousal support issues may arise, and analysis of expenses and household spending may be relevant in determining an appropriate level of support.
Similarly, lifestyle issues may be important when divorcing people have kids together. Certainly, Missouri law has child support guidelines, but the issues surrounding child support can be complex. The “best interests of the child” standard comes into play in determining custody and support issues.
Source: Wall Street Journal, “Voices: Richard Feldstein, on Advising the ‘Out Spouse’ in a Wealthy Divorce,” Richard Feldstein, Jan. 16, 2014