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Brent Blanchard
Brent Blanchard, Family Law Attorney
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 1975
Experience:  Eleven years of experience in family law, from pre-nups, divorces, child custody and support mod
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Here Please go back to my november original question, and 2

Customer Question

here Please go back to my november original question, and 2 clarification requests to the lawyer's response. I would really like to have clear confirmation that your guys are on top of this and that I will receive a complete, detailed answer.
Thank you so much.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Maverick replied 1 year ago.

Welcome to Just Answer (“JA”)! My name is Maverick. Please note that:

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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
In PA a man and a woman got married around 2010 to 2012, no prenup. When they divorce there is a property settlement. Afterwards, one party discovers that the other concealed assets. What are the courses of reparation, and is there any statute of limit here on legal recourse. Also are there any categories of assets that would not fit under the usual "common property" PA laws, including for example--real estate, retirement income and assets, bank accounts regardless of where they are held, inheritances before the marriage, cars planes and boats, investments ?I see a gray area. Suppose one spouse has separate income from investments and retirement funds acquired before marriage, but then let's the other spouse pay nearly all living expenses and acquires new real estate property, planes, new investment funds etc. by feeding their assets into these new acquisitions. Are the new acquisitions by the spouse during the marriage subject to disclosure and division at the time of divorce ?Also, "what is the definition of newly acquired assets" during the marriage. Would any new purchase of real estate, cars, planes, property improvements, salaries or consulting fees, stock, shares or partnerships or other interests in corporations qualify, and if not what are the exceptions?
Expert:  Maverick replied 1 year ago.

1. On what date did the court sign the divorce judgment containing the property settlement terms?

2. How long after that date did you discover that assets were concealed?

3. The assets that were concealed, where they acquired by the other party before marriage or after?

4. Were the shares of stock in the corporation acquired before or after marriage?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
As mentioned before, the questions are really about assets acquired after marriage so far, but if PA law also deals with situations where some assets were concealed before marriage (case law, etc.) then that would also be of interest. The situation currently is that there are many indications of concealed assets, but before investing time and money and documenting in detail exactly where/when concealment occurred I need to know what PA law says about all these issues. I have read that later discovery of concealed assets at the time of a property settlement during divorce may be legally successfully addressed "at any future time" when the concealment is discovered--along with my other questions, is that the case regardless of whether the divorce/property settlement occurred in 2012, 2002, 1990, 1980, ie. regardless of exact date in the last few decades ? Thank you.
Expert:  Maverick replied 1 year ago.

This may be a little beyond my area of expertise. I will opt out and let another expert give it a shot. Your deposit is still in tact and you need not do anything on your end.

Expert:  mmdesq replied 1 year ago.

Good Morning,

I am a licensed PA attorney. I have more than 15 years experience in divorce matters. In order to thoroughly and properly answer you are questions additional background information will be needed and the responses there to make change the ultimate advice. In order to answer your questions as accurately and effectively as possible I recommend that we do a phone consultation. I can speak with you today in the AM or PM. I will send you an offer for phone services with quote.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
My goodness. I already paid last month for a Justanswer advice/consultation that was cut short without fully addressing points I raised in my question. Now I would simply like the best written answer that you can give on the basis of the information provided to you. Thank you very much.
Expert:  Brent Blanchard replied 1 year ago.

As the others have opted out, I will step in. Please note that you have actually asked at least five separate questions in your original post...

1. "Afterwards, one party discovers that the other concealed assets. What are the courses of reparation,"

This answer is for situations where the property was acquired during the marriage and NOT by inheritance or any other way that keeps it from becoming marital property.

Generally, two options: A. A motion to modify the divorce decree to adjust the property settlement; or

B. A new lawsuit for fraud (less favorable, more expensive, etc.) IF all elements can be proven, in general, a misrepresentation of a material fact (nature and extent of marital assets, the victim's reasonable reliance on that misrepresentation, and damages from the lie and relying on it. For PA's exact language, google "Pennsylvania fraud elements".

Note that fraudulently concealing *marital* assets during property settlement negotiations is technically a fraud on the court, and warrants a modification even without the usually-required "material change in circumstances."

2. Afterwards, one party discovers that the other concealed assets. What are the courses of reparation,

Yes, and it depends on what course of action is chosen.

For a fraud lawsuit, PA controls:

"§ 5524. Two year limitation.

The following actions and proceedings must be commenced within two years:

[...]

(7) Any other action or proceeding to recover damages for injury to person or property which is founded on negligent, intentional, or otherwise tortious conduct or any other action or proceeding sounding in trespass, including deceit or fraud, except an action or proceeding subject to another limitation specified in this subchapter.”

For modifying a divorce decree, it appears to be four years:

"

§ 5525. Four year limitation.

(a) General rule.--Except as provided for in subsection (b), the following actions and proceedings must be commenced within four years:

[. . .]

(5) An action upon a judgment or decree of any court of the United States or of any state.

Unfortunately, it would take an excessive amount of time to check the PA Rules of Civil Procedure for more guidance on this. Rule 56 might control that.

3. Also are there any categories of assets that would not fit under the usual "common property" PA laws, including for example--real estate, retirement income and assets, bank accounts regardless of where they are held, inheritances before the marriage, cars planes and boats, investments ?

No, there is no limitation on the types of classes of property that can become marital property. Note that inheritances AFTER the marriage are also separate property. Gifts to one spouse are separate property. The main other after-acquired property that is always separate property is proceeds from personal injury causes of action.

ANY separate property can be transmuted to marital property by something showing a clear intent to share it with the spouse--like depositing money into a joint bank account.

4. Suppose one spouse has separate income from investments and retirement funds acquired before marriage, but then let's the other spouse pay nearly all living expenses and acquires new real estate property, planes, new investment funds etc. by feeding their assets into these new acquisitions. Are the new acquisitions by the spouse during the marriage subject to disclosure and division at the time of divorce ?

How a couple chooses to pay for living expenses is their business and does not alter the marital nature of earnings during the marriage. If it was purchased with marital money (earnings), it is presumed to be marital property until proven otherwise. AND all property must be disclosed.

5. Also, "what is the definition of newly acquired assets" during the marriage.

That is not the right question. The question is HOW the property was acquired during the marriage. See above. Gifts and inheritances are not marital property. For example, in most states, lottery winnings are marital property--even in a fairly famous case 20-30? years ago where the winnings came in literally the day before the judge finally bothered to sign the decree. They had been waiting for WEEKS. But the rules are the rules.

6. Would any new purchase of real estate, cars, planes, property improvements, salaries or consulting fees, stock, shares or partnerships or other interests in corporations qualify, and if not what are the exceptions?

It all needs to be disclosed. Period.

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