A complex divorce involving a large and complicated portfolio, may require an attorney who knows precisely what documents are relevant as you proceed through divorce court. More often than not, having access to both personal and corporate records has the potential to provide an accurate picture of the financial state of things, which is essential when it comes to an equitable financial settlement as your marriage ends. Regardless of how much you may have trusted your spouse, you have to allow for the possibility that efforts will be made to avoid sharing assets and funds. Going forward with as much information as possible can only benefit you.
Records Worth Investigating in a Complex Divorce
If one spouse owns a business that is subject to community property laws in California, things can get complicated pretty quickly. Depending on your circumstances, a variety of records could be helpful as financial negotiations proceed, including the following:
- Financial Statements: Obviously, personal and corporate bank statements for several years will reveal both personal and corporate health. Patterns will be examined, and any recent changes will be analyzed.
- Tax Documents: Tax returns are particularly insightful because they tend to reveal an accurate picture of the financial state of affairs. Falsification of these documents could lead to perjury charges, fines, and prison time, which compels typical filers to be fairly straightforward. Comparing tax returns to other financial statements that are less aggressively examined by the federal government will either support a reported financial scenario, or will reveal inconsistencies.
- Work papers from Company Accountants: These papers may inform investigators as to the foundational thinking behind the use of particular figures or transactions.
- Ledgers: These will be examined with an eye toward understanding the overall financial status of the business. They will reveal specific details regarding disbursements, expenditures, and expensing.
- Bill Receipts: It is essential to know whether particular disbursements were for business or personal matters.
- Insurance Policies: Business interruption insurance policies that seem extravagant in the face of claims of a poorly performing business may indicate underreporting of profits. In an unrelated situation, personal items that you have no clue exist may be being insured.
- Company Brochures: If the company claims to be # 1 on the West Coast, but your spouse pleads failing profits, you can use advertisements and brochures to challenge the inconsistency.
- Lease Agreements: If your spouse claims business is doing poorly, it could be useful to look at whether downsizing is in the works.
- Calendars: Calendars may reveal how busy the business is, the amount of vacation time being taken, and other factors worth knowing.