Many married couples settle into a regular routine. One spouse will pay the bills and the other will take care of other items on the "to do" list. The result of this arrangement is that, more often than not, one spouse is more familiar with the marital finances and assets than the other spouse. Marital bliss renders this a non-issue and the arrangement is fine ... until things are no longer blissful.
All too often people do not understand their rights and entitlements when going through a divorce. The Court Rules allow for discovery. The discovery process may be time and labor intensive (or brief, depending upon the parties' agreements on the topic), but it does allow for a level of transparency between spouses. Every party has a right to see the other party's income information. Every party has a right to see the other party's bank accounts, credit card statements, investment accounts, retirement accounts, etc. It does not matter if an account, liability, or asset is titled only in one party's name. Per our equitable distribution statute, any asset acquired or established during the marriage is potentially subject to equitable distribution. It does not matter if only one party worked - both spouses are considered to have contributed to the marriage and equitable distribution must still be determined.
It is imperative that everyone know and understand the extent of the marital finances, assets, and liabilities prior to finalizing a divorce. At Newsome O'Donnell we have vast experience in the discovery process. We have handled matters with assets in foreign countries, matters involving the dissipation of assets, and matters where one spouse is completely unaware of the assets and liabilities of the other spouse. If you are contemplating divorce and would like to better understand your rights and interests - and how to identify the marital assets and liabilities - please call and schedule a consultation with us today.