Financial honesty is the foundation upon which equitable and adequate division of family property and support obligations are determined in a divorce or separation. A detailed, timely, and accurate listing of each party’s assets and liabilities and an understanding of the assets and their tax and estate planning implications is necessary to ensure everyone involved receives what is fair given the circumstances. Unfortunately, the practice of family law is rife with the non-disclosure or limited misleading disclosure of assets, which makes uncovering and accurately valuating these assets a crucial step in a number of family law matters, especially where a family business is involved. In cases where there is potential for another party to try to confuse the process by hiding or being deceitful about their income or finances, it is extremely important to have a lawyer with the skills and experience to overcome such efforts.
At Mincher Koeman, our lawyers are particularly adept at locating and valuing assets that opposing parties attempt to keep hidden. Our unique system of organizing, tracking, and summarizing financial disclosure allows us to quickly identify inconsistencies and easily spot red flags that may indicate non-disclosure.
Time is of the essence if there is reason to believe a party is hiding, transferring, or dissipating assets. In cases where there is concern that funds may be changing hands in an effort to conceal wealth, we can move for an injunction to freeze assets and prevent these efforts. However, it is crucial to act quickly as it is much easier to deal with funds or property in hand than it is to locate items or funds that have already been disposed of. In circumstances where it is too late for preventative measures, it is more difficult but certainly not impossible to track down hidden assets.
Mincher Koeman has developed an organizational system to ensure ease of transfer with respect to disclosure documentation, allowing our team to quickly assess the financial positions of both parties, and to update the information in real-time as new information is received. We expect and provide complete honesty when dealing with clients on any case to ensure a swift resolution can be reached, and if the opposing side fails to provide the same, our system will flag this immediately and we will work to determine what they may be suppressing.
Both Lynsey Mincher and Andrew Koeman began their legal careers practicing criminal law, where they became skilled at building cases and locating and recovering information that one party or another wished to keep protected. Lynsey has extensive trial experience having practised as a criminal defence lawyer and a Crown Prosecutor. Andrew, in particular, has an extensive background in economic and commercial criminal matters, where he worked as a Crown Prosecutor and became highly practiced and focused on the tracing of assets. Lynsey and Andrew’s criminal law experience, specifically in dealing with white-collar crimes, has allowed them to develop relationships with several experts on tracing assets and forensic accounting, which has proven to be highly valuable in a number of family matters where hidden assets are at issue.
The partners’ previous experience prosecuting economic and white-collar crimes has given them a unique skill set and they regularly work with various experts to assist clients in tracing and valuing assets including businesses. They have a passion for bringing clarity to the complicated property and financial issues that can arise in the course of property division at the end of a relationship. The firm is highly experienced in complex child and spousal support matters. We have acted on numerous matters where the determination of income is complicated, such as situations where income is derived from a non-taxable source, a family trust, a privately-held corporation, or other sources outside of typical employment.
There are many ways to hide income, property, and other financial assets. Below are some ways people commonly attempt to remove certain assets from consideration when dividing family property or determining support obligations:
When a case calls for it, we work with highly respected experts including forensic accountants or employ the use of asset searches to find money or other property a party has tried to keep hidden. Where evidence of non-disclosure is found, there are a number of possible remedies. Courts can impute a higher income to a person who failed to fully disclose, and in certain circumstances, injunctions may be granted to stop the sale or transfer of certain properties or funds before trial. Often, the cost associated with the tracing of these assets will fall to the person who failed to disclose from the start.
At Mincher Koeman, we bring unique experience and organizational skills to assist clients facing the financial dishonesty of a former spouse. Our goal is to quickly identify, locate, and value assets that will affect the division of property, or the determination of support, to ensure fairness in every case for our clients. We are committed to providing impeccable service and delivering high-quality work and results efficiently and responsively. Please contact our office to make an appointment to discuss your matter with one of our lawyers today by calling us at 403-910-3000 or by contacting us online.
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