We are delighted to announce that our physical office is re-opening to our existing and new clients. To provide safety to both our clients and staff, we are adapting the CDC guidelines for social distancing while we are in the yellow phase. Rest assured, that we have and will continue to regularly clean all areas of the office especially the high-traffic areas. All attorneys and staff will have their temperature taken daily and will be wearing masks when interacting with clients. Any attorneys and staff with a temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher will work remotely. They will then be required to follow CDCrecommended steps, including not returning to work until the CDC criteria to discontinue home isolation are met.

As the health and safety of our clients and their families is our top priority, we are asking that our clients follow the procedures below during the yellow phase:

  1. Upon entering the building, we ask that all persons wash their hands or hand-sanitize. We will be providing access to soap, hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes.
  2. We will also be taking temperatures with non-contact thermometers upon entering the office.
  3. Our office is set-up to comply with social distancing of six feet. In the conference and mediation rooms we are asking that each person sit a minimum of one chair apart from attorneys and/or staff at all times.
  4. Masks are available and will be provided open request.
  5. Teleconferences Zoom meetings, and FaceTime are available in lieu of inperson meetings if requested.
  6. We will continue to have the drop-box available for delivery of documents.

In the event that anyone is sick or have been exposed to COVID-19, we ask that you reschedule your appointment or utilize the electronic forums listed above.

As each county determines the procedures that will be followed, please ask your attorney of the specific procedures regarding the county in which your case in pending.

Please note that we will also continue to accommodate the needs of new clients, who are welcome, and as always we encourage and appreciate referrals. During this uncertain and unprecedented time, please stay safe and remember that Sweeney Law Office, LLC will remain by your side for all of your family’s legal needs. We ask that you have patience during this challenging time.

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Three tips for uncovering hidden assets during a Pennsylvania divorce

To find hidden assets during divorce, spouses should review all available financial documentation, know what to look for and obtain professional help.

Under Pennsylvania law, almost all property that a couple acquires while married is considered marital property. If the couple divorces, this property must be divided either by the agreement of both spouses or by a family law court, which is tasked with reaching an equitable distribution of marital property. Unfortunately, a number of spouses who face the prospect of asset division may attempt to avoid a fair and reasonable distribution by hiding marital property.

Statistics on asset concealment in divorce are lacking. However, according to The Wall Street Journal, research does show that over half of spouses who combine their assets have hidden cash from their significant other. Another three-tenths of spouses in this group have engaged in other forms of financial deceit. This suggests that many spouses may face asset concealment during divorce and may benefit from knowing how to uncover hidden property.

1. Know the warning signs

First, divorcing individuals should be aware of indications that their spouse might have hidden marital assets. Forbes states that assets can be concealed in many ways, including secret accounts, understatement of income, creation or exaggeration of debt, transfer of assets to accomplices, dissipation of assets and purchase of items with questionable value. As a result, the following developments may signify some form of financial misconduct:

  • A spouse reports losing income or suffering a sudden decrease in the value of a personal business, practice, property or investment.
  • The spouse starts buying items, such as jewelry, art and vehicles, which could easily be undervalued during the divorce and sold later.
  • The spouse begins gambling, taking on debt or otherwise losing money.
  • The spouse regularly spends more than his or her income should allow.

People who are divorcing should also take note if a spouse goes to unusual lengths to maintain financial secrecy, such as using multiple cell phones, deleting computer files, maintaining a private post office box or refusing to share financial documents.

2. Perform financial research

To investigate whether assets really have been hidden, spouses should collect all available financial documents, including tax returns, account statements and bills. Spouses should then review these for discrepancies, abnormal or mysterious purchases, secret accounts and unknown sources of income. The Wall Street Journal also recommends conducting online searches to determine whether a spouse owns other property or has earned money from undisclosed transactions.

When gathering all of this information, spouses should take care to avoid engaging in legally questionable activities, such as using software to spy on the other spouse. Information obtained in this manner may not be admissible in court, and illegal actions may also hurt a spouse’s divorce case.

3. Hire a professional

To improve the likelihood of hidden assets being located, spouses should also seek assistance from a professional with knowledge of forensic accounting and asset detection. An attorney who has experience in these areas may be able to help identify red flags and take any necessary steps, such as subpoenaing financial documents or deposing the other spouse, to uncover hidden assets