Hidden Assets And How They Relate To Divorce

It is not unusual for a spouse to hide income and assets, especially if the divorce action has been planned well in advance. A spouse may want to hide income and assets for a variety of reasons. When these financial issues arise in a divorce, it can sometimes be difficult to keep track of any unreported income and hidden assets.

Most Common Types of Hidden Assets

Hidden Assets come in many forms, the most common include cash, bonds, insurance policies, mutual funds, annuities, stocks, pension funds, 401Ks and IRAs. Also, a spouse may convert cash into personal property such as antiques, automobiles, boats, art, jewelry or guns. These are examples of asset conversion that may be overlooked or undervalued in a divorce action.

Can Hidden Assets Be Discovered?

Finding hidden assets is often one of the most difficult tasks during the divorce process but through diligent and effective preparation, it is possible to discover hidden assets not disclosed or acknowledged by the opposing spouse.

The first step is through the discovery process by serving interrogatories on the opposing spouse, taking his or her deposition and issuing subpoenas to third parties such as banks. If the opposing spouse fails to produce the documents requested, the court can compel the opposing spouse to produce the requested documents, sanction them accordingly and order them to pay attorney’s fees and costs.

The second step is to consider hiring an investigator to trace the transfer of ownership of assets into another individual’s name or other entities’ names. Hidden assets are typically placed with a trusted third party or behind false documents. It is vital to have the names, nickname(s) and aliases of family members or close friends who may assist the spouse in hiding assets along with their current and past address information.

Specific information concerning your spouse’s lifestyle may reveal the likelihood of hidden assets. If debt has not been increased and there was no inherited money then there is an excellent possibility that unreported income is supporting your spouse’s lifestyle and other hidden assets. Conducting a lifestyle analysis to compare what your spouse reports as income to his or her lifestyle can uncover hidden assets and unreported income.

Here is a list of questions that may help.

  • Is your spouse a frequent traveler? When they travel what type of hotels do they frequent and what type of activities does your spouse engage in when they travel?
  • Do they gamble, travel to banking havens or play golf?
  • Who are their friends? What type of people are they and what are their interest?
  • What types of purchases is your spouse making, what kind of car does he or she drive, is there a boat or other like toys?
  • Is there a disparity between the lifestyle your spouse leads and the income reported?
  • Is your spouse’s monthly credit card and banking statements mailed to the marital home, the spouse’s office, or accessible only be email?
  • Are there large amounts of cash under your spouse’s control?
  • Who is your spouse’s accountant and who prepares your spouse’s tax return?

Where To Look For Hidden Assets

There are many ways a spouse might conceal assets and the ways vary greatly with the individuals involved. In an attempt to hide assets, a spouse may involve the help of a family member or a close friend and often these individuals are unaware they are being involved in a scheme to hide assets. Another method of hiding assets is to place the asset such as investment certificates or other personal items into a safety deposit box in the name of a family member or close friend.

A spouse might conceal assets in plain sight by paying down a mortgage, credit card balances or other liabilities. A spouse may even give cash or other assets to a family member or close friend to hold until the divorce is finalized. Keep an eye out for things like having to make repayments on a debt to a family member or a close friend. It may seem to be a legitimate debt at first but it may be a form of another hidden asset.

Custodial accounts can be established by a spouse under a child’s name and social security number. A spouse may even transfer assets into pension accounts, profit-sharing accounts, a trust or a 401K account in an attempt of hiding assets from the opposing spouse.

A spouse who owns a business may use the business to conceal assets by not recording cash receipts or by paying a non-existing employee. Additionally, the value of a business before the divorce can be lowered by delaying the signing of a contract for goods or services until after the divorce is final.

Your spouse’s tax returns for the past 3 to 5 years can be an excellent source of information in locating hidden assets. The tax returns will show income earning assets, the sale of assets and the source of all income such as wages, salaries, interest, dividends, rental income, business income and the gains and losses from the sale of stocks. Their W2 will show whether your spouse has a deferred compensation plan.

Saving accounts and money market accounts could point to hidden assets such as stocks that pay a dividend or a bond that pays interest. Your spouse’s checking account could reveal the purchase of real property or other investments.

Contact an Orlando Divorce Attorney

Law Office of Erin Morse has the experience and tools to uncover hidden assets and unreported income. Our team of dedicated and compassionate family law attorneys can answer any questions you might have and help walk you through the process. If you have questions, or need advice, contact us today. We are here for you. Call (407) 900-7451 now to schedule your consultation.

Lessons To Be Learned From Divorce

If you’re going through your divorce right now, it may feel as if it’s the worst time of your life. When your marriage goes downhill, it feels as if life is at its worst. Starting over may seem like near impossible and will drain your energy just thinking about it.

But remember that you are not the first or the last to have gone through a divorce. There have been many who have already gone through divorce, and there are still many who will be following you. And from those who have been there, you can learn a few valuable lessons.

Firstly, if you have gone through divorce, understand that now you’ve got the courage to get through almost anything. Simply put, divorce is one of the most challenging and draining experiences. After going through something like that, it builds up your courage and confidence. Starting over after something like that means conquering life in itself.

Also, remember that sometimes it doesn’t work out with the one you thought was your soulmate. Sometimes it’s just time to let go and start anew. Not everything after a divorce is negative. There are many who have turned life to the better after letting go of a toxic relationship. Holding on to an unhealthy relationship will not do you any good, no matter the reason for doing so.

A competent Divorce Lawyer should be always ready to help you out by providing the best legal counsel for your case. Your legal representation matters more than you think in your divorce. That’s why you need to put some thought into it and select the best Divorce Lawyer Orlando to represent you.

I am always here to give my best legal counsel to help you. Call my law office now to clarify any doubts that you may have. At Erin Morse Law firm, we work hard to provide our clients with the best service in the market.

What is Collaborative Law?

When a couple comes to the decison to end their marriage, they may expect a long and expensive divorce process. Many people do not know that there are harmonious ways of legally separating that protect you, your spouse, and children from the lengthy proceedings of a divorce. One way is through collaborative law, or a type of divorce agreement that lets a couple work together for the best final solution to suit their individual needs. All couples may not be able to come to an agreement but those that can are more likely to resolve their divorce without a court trial.

What is Involved in Collaborative Law

The first step in beginning a collaborative law divorce is to find a trusted family law attorney to represent both parties and walk a couple through the divorce process.

In order for a collaborative law divorce to work, there must be open communication throughout the whole process, ensuring that both parties understand and can agree on the final divorce agreement. A successful collaborative law divorce will also include the following elements:

  • Disclosure of documents
  • Mutual respect
  • Protecting children from lengthy divorce proceedings
  • Sharing cost and knowledge of legal experts
  • No court

By agreeing to work together, there is less paperwork, less time given to the courts, and less money spent on attorney fees. Although collaborate law is not for everyone, it can be a valuable asset to you and your family during this difficult time.

Benefits of Pursuing Collaborative Law for a Divorce

The collaborative law process offers a different approach to resolving family conflict. Rather than face a forced and sometimes undesirable outcome from a judge, collaborative law gives divorcing couples the freedom to find the best solution for their family’s specific needs. This is done through open communication and full disclosure under the supervision of a legal professional. If you would like to learn more about the process of collaborative law or other available options, an Orlando divorce lawyer at the Law Office of Erin Morse can help you.

Why Should You Consider Collaborative Law

Collaborative law allows couples to focus on their future rather than addressing conflicts from the past, and offers the following benefits for those looking to reduce the stress and friction in their divorce:

  • Reducing legal fees and paperwork
  • Resolving conflict quickly and efficiently
  • Maximizing the post-divorce parenting relationship
  • Promoting open communication to avoid unwanted roadblocks and conflict
  • Avoiding an undesirable outcome

Contact a Collaborative Law Attorney in Orlando

If you think collaborative law might be the right option for you, a legal professional in Orlando can answer any questions you might have and help walk you through the process. Our team of dedicated and compassionate family law attorneys want to help you make your divorce as easy as possible. If you want to avoid the expensive and long process of going to trial, contact our Orlando Collaborative Law Attorneys at Law Office of Erin Morse. Call us today at (407) 900-7451 for more information on divorce options that meet your needs.

What Happens If The Other Party Won’t Sign the Divorce Papers?

There are many misconceptions circulating among society regarding divorce. Many of those have originated from movies and TV shows which have then been rooted in our minds. Nevertheless, this article can help dispel one such myth.

What happens if your husband/wife refuses to sign the divorce papers? Does that mean you cannot get a divorce? That is not the case, here in Florida. Many believe that both parties have to sign the papers to get a divorce. Some spouses use this myth to their advantage to threaten the other. They refuse to sign the papers making the other believe that that will prevent the divorce from happening. That way they try to force the other to stay in the marriage.

But there is one fundamental requirement for a divorce to be granted here in Florida. The marriage should be deemed as irretrievably broken in one way or another. If one party wishes to leave the union, they can do so without the other’s consent or permission.

No hard and fast rule states that both parties should be in favor of leaving the marriage. Even if only one is in favor, the marriage can be deemed as irretrievably broken. Simply, there is no way of holding back a spouse who wants to leave the marriage for good.

That was only one such myth about divorce. There are so many circulating in society as of right now. Contact a competent Divorce Lawyer here to clarify all your doubts and dispel myths right away.

Looking for an Orlando Divorce Lawyer who can give the best legal advice to you? Contact Erin Morse Law Firm to get the best Orlando Divorce Lawyer for your case. Call our office right away to make sure that your rights remain protected during your divorce and afterward.

Who Gets Custody?

That is a question that every parent involved in a divorce or separation ponders 24/7. Your kids have been the most important part of your life for quite some time. The mere thought of not being able to be with them as before might scare you to death. But your Child Custody Lawyers in Orlando can help you get the best response favorable to you and your kids.

Every attribute of your life is bound to change at least in the slightest manner after your divorce. Even spending time with your kids and being responsible for their major life decisions are parts of those attributes. It is best for both parents to be involved in the children’s lives in an equal manner, unless the situation calls for the opposite. A Child Custody Lawyer can help you figure out the best possible parenting plan for you and your kids.

In most cases, matters can be settled during mediation. But if a satisfactory settlement cannot be reached during negotiations, going to trial is necessary. Here, your Child Custody Lawyer will be your representative in court.

Your lawyer plays a significant role in getting you the favorable response that you seek in these dilemmas. Choose to obtain the legal counsel that can help you make the right decisions in these problematic emotionally-challenging times. While being sensitive to your needs, your lawyer must also be competitive in court if it comes to that. We, at Erin Morse Law Firm, with our expertise and experience, take every effort to provide you the best service in town. Call our Office to get the legal assistance that you need for your case!

Attorney-Client Privilege & Family Law

What exactly is this attorney-client privilege and what privileges does it include? Most of us, sadly, do not know the scope and depth of the answer to this question. Resulting in us doubting its use in many crucial situations and even taking it for granted at times. Attorney-client privilege entails the opportunity for you to disclose anything and everything related to the case to your lawyer. It gives you the confidence that the secrets that you put out there to your lawyer remain as secrets.

It is true that even this so-called “privilege” does have its own limitations. But these limitations are more or less involved with cases revolving around crime and fraud. These are not necessarily typical aspects of a family law case involving divorce and child custody and support. Therefore, you can expect the limitations of this attorney-client privilege to not apply in your case. Child Support Lawyers In Orlando FL are not given the right to disclose your confidential information or testify against you.

You need to make use of this attorney-client privilege to your benefit. Disclosing all necessary information to your attorney is essential. That is so for your own benefit. Your lawyer will do anything and everything in their power to protect yours and your children’s rights. So it must be in your best interests to provide them with any details that can help them do that.

Moreover, it is not just your lawyer pursuing to protect your rights. Even your ex-spouse has their own lawyer pursuing every possible action to protect their client’s rights. So your lawyer must have all cards on their side to be able to use when needed to defend yours. So decide now, to place your trust in your lawyer right away. What use of a lawyer if you can’t trust him?

Looking for Child Support Lawyers In Orlando FL to help you with your issues? We, at Erin Morse Law Firm, will be more than happy to help you with the most professional services in town. Call our Office to make an appointment.

Unmarried Fathers’ Rights

Today marriage is not thought of the same way as it was back in the day. Many couples choose to have children without tying the knot first. This personal choice is all and well till the relationship goes awry. It is more so for fathers.

In the case of a child born inside marriage, the mother’s husband is automatically given rights. But when marriage is not part of the picture, complications arise if a separation ever comes into play. While the romantic relationship between the parents remains as it is even outside marriage, child custody is not an issue. But if the union starts to fall apart, problems begin to arise.

First of all, having the father’s name on the birth certificate of the child does not automatically give him rights. This means that in Florida, the mother can get sole custody if the parents decide to part ways. That can result in many fathers losing contact with their children. But there are ways that you can protect your rights as the child’s father if it ever comes to that.

First, make sure that your name is there on the child’s birth certificate. And also, make sure that you and the mother both sign an affidavit acknowledging your paternity. This can help you go a long way. Make sure that you play an active role in your child’s upbringing. These are but only a few of the steps to be taken. Contact your Orlando Child Custody Attorney to find out what more can be done and needs to be done.

When it comes to defending yours and your child’s rights, you need an experienced Child Custody Attorney. We at Erin Morse Law Firm make sure you get the best legal counsel in town. We work our best to protect yours and your child’s rights during these difficult times. Contact us and make an appointment for further details.

The Basics of Alimony in Orlando

Alimony is a sum paid by one ex-spouse to another to make up for the financial disparities. This spousal support is to help bridge the financial unevenness between ex-spouses that might result from a divorce.

Traditionally, one spouse would put the family ahead of their career and professional development thus devoting their life to the family’s upbringing and development. That impedes their professional development causing financial problems for that spouse in the case of a divorce. To help make up for these discrepancies, alimony or spousal support has come into play. The other spouse who got the chance to build up their career and profession along the way will pay alimony.

This alimony is paid to the spouse in consideration only as long as it is necessary. That is till that spouse obtains sufficient skills and training to become financially independent or till the recipient spouse remarries. In either of the above case, alimony will be terminated.

Some factors that are considered when deciding on the amount of spousal support are as follows.

  1. Length of the marriage
  2. Time needed to gain sufficient skills and training to become self-sufficient
  3. Physical and emotional conditions of the spouses
  4. The standard of living prior to divorce during the marriage
  5. The financial ability of the payer spouse to pay alimony to the payee spouse

Your Divorce Lawyer in Orlando will tell you that alimony can be paid/received as a lump sum or monthly payments. The spouses can decide on this payment method as is suitable for them.

Your Divorce Lawyer will play a major role in determining the outcome of your divorce. Make sure that you possess the legal assistance required to protect your rights along the way. We, at Erin Morse Law Firm Orlando, holds the best title in the market when it comes to handling family law cases. Call our office to set up an appointment to discuss your case.

What You Need To Know About Prenups

A prenuptial agreement, antenuptial agreement, premarital agreement or simply termed, a prenup; all refer to the same thing. It is a contract drawn between couples before marriage, to settle the division of assets in case of divorce.

Many people who sign prenups are often clueless about it. They do not know how effective they are until it comes to a divorce. That is why you need a competent Family Law Attorney on your side throughout the whole process. Many go into the prenuptial agreement without any legal counsel and regret it afterward.

Moreover, some people choose to draw up their own prenuptial agreement without any legal background which later ends up in a failure. That is the reason why you need a competent Family Law Attorney to draft a legally binding prenuptial agreement.

It is very important to disclose all your assets on a prenup fully. For your prenup to be valid in court, you need to have disclosed all your earnings and assets beforehand.

If you need assistance with any family law matters, Erin Morse Law Firm is the place for you. You can expect nothing but the best from us. Call our office now to set up an appointment.

Divorce or Dissolution of Marriage

A divorce is never a pleasant experience. Whenever two people decide to dissolve their marriage, it is advisable to consider the consequences first. Divorce does not just affect you, but your children and family members too.

In a divorce, there are decisions to be taken regarding child custody, child support, alimony, etc. All these subjects require the services of an experienced Divorce Lawyer in Orlando, FL.

In Florida, there are two main grounds for divorce. One is where the marriage is deemed as irretrievably broken. The other is a spouse being mentally incapacitated for at least three years before filing for divorce.

A divorce can be Contested or Uncontested. An uncontested divorce is where both parties mutually agree to a divorce. Even then the services of an experienced divorce lawyer are needed to make sure that you follow the correct procedure. A contested divorce is where the two parties have disagreements between them regarding divorce terms. In that situation, the case is presented to a court for a final agreement. There, each contestant’s case is presented to the court through a qualified lawyer representing them.

If you decide to go through your divorce with our firm, we will fight your case to the end. Our team will always be available for consultation. Feel free to call upon us right now to discuss your situation.