Managing the finances of a marriage can be tricky business. Often one spouse is delegated the role of the banker, the financial advisor and the bookkeeper and the other spouse does not have a clear understanding of the assets or even the income of the other spouse. Dividing the assets and income of the parties are even trickier if the marriage fails and a divorce occurs.
Pennsylvania divorce and support laws require both spouses to disclose all of their assets and income to one another. Lack of disclosure of assets and income can lead to the impositions of penalties and sanctions on the non-disclosing spouse.
The courts expect both spouses to come to the table with clean hands. Each spouse must proactively disclose to the other spouse all of his or her assets and income. But there is often a lack of trust between divorcing spouses as to the other’s disclosure of assets and income. This can lead to contentious disputes and even litigation.
If a spouse suspects that his or her spouse is not fully disclosing assets or income, there are legal tools available to compel the other spouse to fully disclose his or her assets and income.
Such legal tools include requiring the other party to produce financial records regarding their assets and tax returns, in a process known as discovery. Subpoenas can be sent to third parties to obtain financial records, such as financial institutions and employers. Depositions can be taken of a spouse or third parties to investigate and question the finances and income of a spouse. If there is a business involved, a forensic accountant can be hired to investigate the income of the spouse and appraise the business.
If an agreement is reached as to the division of assets and it is later discovered that a spouse failed to disclose a marital asset, the court can open up the agreement and impose sanctions and court costs on the non-disclosing spouse.
If a spouse fails to disclose all of his or her income for support purposes, and the income is later discovered by the other spouse, the non-disclosing spouse can be sanctioned by the court and the amount of support will be re-adjusted to include the additional undisclosed income.
Individuals engaged in a divorce proceeding must have a full understanding of their duty to disclose all of his or her assets and income. They must also be aware of the legal tools available to them to gain a full understanding and disclosure of the income and assets of their spouse.