Hidden assets make for an unfair divorce

If your marriage is coming to an end, chances are that at some point, you and your spouse lost trust in one another. Whether it resulted from a series of disappointments or a monumental betrayal, you soon realized there was no coming back from it.

Losing trust in each other may become a serious issue during your divorce proceedings. If you plan to use an alternative method of dispute resolution, such as mediation, or you are going straight to the courtroom, the law requires you and your spouse to disclose the full details of your finances. However, when trust has eroded between spouses, it is common for one or both to hide assets from each other.

Where to look

Knowing your spouse's accurate income, assets and debts is critical for obtaining a full and fair portion of marital property. There are several reasons why a spouse may hide assets. For example, your spouse may have fears of financial instability after the divorce. However, some spouses simply believe their partners do not deserve a portion of their earnings, and others hide assets just for spite. This is not often as basic as stashing cash in a box under the floorboards but may involve more complex schemes, such as:

  • Purchasing real estate, including rental properties
  • Investing without telling you
  • Starting a side business
  • Making fake loans to friends or family
  • Creating fraudulent mortgages or loans to give the impression that an asset has little value
  • Lying about the amount of income he or she actually earns
  • Pretending to have lost money or assets
  • Spending or dissipating assets just to keep you from obtaining them

Of course, it is possible your spouse has a safe deposit box or safe somewhere that contains money, valuables or deeds, and it may take some digging to locate this hiding place. However, you may wish to gather your most recent joint tax returns and allow your attorney to review them. By evaluating any itemized deductions, claims of interest, business profit or loss, and other factors, your Colorado attorney may be able to help you determine if your spouse has something to hide.

If you can find evidence that your spouse is hiding assets from the divorce process, you will want to inform the court. It is possible that this information could benefit you when the time comes to divide your marital assets.

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