I believe my wife has hidden assets from our divorce

Tom (Guest) on Tuesday, October 23 2012, 08:47 AM
I am getting divorced and I just found out that my wife of 20 years has hidden assets in her mother’s name. Do I subpoena those accounts? I know the bank account numbers and there are extensive assets in those accounts. If I can subpoena the bank records, can I get a postponement of the divorce date since this may take a while and I just learned about it the other day? I imagine that when these hidden assets are brought forward, it will change a lot of the financial details.
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    Replied by Attorney David Rubin on Tuesday, October 23 2012, 09:10 AM · Hide · #1
    Where exactly are you in the divorce process? If you are in the early state of the divorce case, then your wife is required to provide all information about her mother’s bank accounts within the first 45 days of getting served with the Complaint. This is required under Rule 410 of the Massachusetts Rules of Domestic Relations Procedure so it would not be necessary to subpoena the records. If you are beyond the 45 days, the information can be obtained by a Request for Production of Documents and Interrogatories, drafted by your attorney. Generally, your wife has 30 to 45 days to respond to responses to the Request for Production of Documents and Interrogatories. This is part of the usual discovery process that is part of any lawuit. At this stage a subpoena may not be necessary. But if you want to verify that what your wife has provided you is accurate, you may want to subpoena the records.

    If your case is beyond the discovery stage allowed by the Timelines set by the Probate Court, then your attorney could file a Motion to Extend Discovery, based upon newly found evidence that your wife has hidden assets which she has neither disclosed to you, nor the Court. Arguably, this is fraud, especially if she has put the accounts in her mother’s name in order to avoid disclosing them. If you are getting ready for trial, your attorney could file an Emergency Motion to Extend Discovery to obtain the bank records. The Motion may include a subpoena to obtain the records before trial. The other question to ask you is whether this is the tip of the iceberg? If she is hiding bank accounts, are there other assets that she is hiding? Therefore, you may want to expand the inquiry to other assets.

    The Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines state that the Probate Court must look at the “combined annual gross income of the parties…” to determine the proper level of child support. The same standard applies to the determination of alimony. Therefore, the income generated by the hidden bank accounts is directly relevant to determine the proper level of child support and/or alimony that your wife may be required to pay. Additionally, the accounts are treated as an asset by the Probate Court and may be divided, along with other assets of the combined marital estate. This will certainly make a big difference in how the income and assets of your divorce are divided between you and your wife. Thoughtful and forceful legal representation is a must.
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