Tracing Hidden Assets

Regrettably there are cases where one party believes that they should not have to provide honest and full disclosure of their true financial circumstances on divorce as the law requires, with a view to short changing their spouse. Sometimes quite elaborate steps are taken, and sophisticated arrangements are put in place, by the party who intends on avoiding their legal obligation of disclosure. They may have placed assets overseas or hidden them in this jurisdiction, via undisclosed bank accounts or through nominees. In such cases the court has a variety of wide ranging methods which can be used to establish the location of such assets, ensuring that they can be considered as available for distribution between the parties on divorce. The court has the power to order information and documentation from third parties and foreign courts and can also join third parties to the proceedings.

In these cases, it is essential for clients to be given proportionate and effective advice in order to avoid costs being wasted on a “fishing expedition” that is based on mere suspicion. There can also be a temptation for clients to attempt to obtain information by viewing and using documents that belong to the other party, but which reveal the identity of hidden assets. These documents are known as ‘Imerman documents’ and there are very strict rules governing this sort of information that expert advice should be sought upon to avoid damaging your case. Our team is highly experienced in advising clients who find themselves in such situations.

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