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What is the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty?

High-Asset divorces have earned a reputation for being messy drawn out affairs, with opportunity for impressive creativity in the lengths spouses may go to keep each other's hands off large quantities of money. Some spouses go so far as to move assets to another country in an effort to keep them out of reach of divorce proceedings. With the advent of the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty, divorce attorneys now have a tool at their disposal that can help recover assets migrated overseas.

Originally established to provide an avenue for recovering drug and embezzlement related assets being hidden in various countries, the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty, or MLAT, is an international agreement between countries to help locate fraudulently migrated assets.The MLAT is now employable by civil attorneys when a party in a civil proceeding is suspected of hiding assets overseas.

An attorney employing the MLAT is granted power to compel the disclosure of documents and to summon witnesses. Not only can the MLAT seize and freeze bank accounts associated with fraud, any attorneys or fiduciaries who a prosecutor suspects of advising a spouse to commit asset fraud may find themselves the subject of a subsequent investigation. The MLAT is a truly powerful tool at the disposal of divorce attorneys to ensure all assets in a divorce are distributed equitably.

Divorces involving large assets almost always are difficult and lengthy processes, but there is no need for them to be both emotionally and financially harmful. A qualified, experienced divorce attorney can help you walk through this difficult season with dignity while protecting your rights and ensuring a fair outcome to the proceedings.

Source: familylawyermagazine.com, "New Asset Recovery Techniques in Divorce Cases," John Quirk, accessed July 01, 2016

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