It is very common for married couples to designate one person to be in charge of household finances, including loans, joint savings accounts, investments and retirement funds. However, the other spouse might not have any idea what their actual financial standing is. They could have trouble figuring out how to approach a divorce without any financial information.
If you do not have access to your account information or money, you do not need to feel stuck. Whether you or the money-managing spouse start the divorce, there are ways for you and your attorney to uncover the truth.
Temporary support may be available
When you do not have access to your household’s money, receiving divorce papers can be a sudden shock to your life. You may wonder how to pay for daily expenses to stay afloat.
Even before you finalize divorce, you may be able to file for temporary spousal support or child support. If the court grants your request, you can secure money for housing, food and other essential costs. It is advisable to open a new bank account that only you can access.
Gain information through the discovery process
Early in divorce, your attorney can formally request critical documents or interviews that can reveal facts such as:
- The value of savings and investments
- The types of credit and loans you owe
- The value and nature of business interests
- Whether any assets may be hidden or intentionally damaged
- Recent gifts and transactions
Your attorney can work with financial experts to follow the money trail to make sure that you have a full picture of your marital finances. This may be especially important for couples who earn vastly different incomes or who have multiple sources of income.
Locating secret funds
Even if your spouse recently withdrew all money from joint accounts, that does not mean they are entitled to keep the money under Michigan law. Both spouses will receive an equitable share of assets by the end of divorce – regardless of who currently controls those assets in the meantime.
If your spouse has withdrawn or hidden money, seek professional guidance. Without investigation, your spouse may keep more than their fair share, leaving you with an unfairly lower share. Forensic accounting can help pinpoint where they could have sent jointly owned assets.
Although it is helpful to have clear financial information at the start of divorce, it is not always possible. During the process, therefore, your lawyer should be diligent in protecting your interests. Being left in the dark about money does not have to stop you from getting a fair divorce outcome.