It is easy for people to make the decision of not living together. They can go their separate ways after a petition for dissolution is finalized but the division of assets among themselves is hard. It is not unlikely to see couples fight over the most insignificant things like utensils. When the situation intensifies, couples can use unfair tactics to get ahead of the other party.
One of the most common tactics that they use is hiding assets during a divorce. They do this intending to avoid property division or to reduce alimony and child support obligations. Even though the tactic is commonly used during a divorce, it is illegal, and the offender can get jail time.
During a divorce in Colorado, when a divorce is filed, both spouses are required by the law to fully disclose all their assets and debts to one another. If you are in a situation where you are wondering what to do if your spouse hides assets in a Colorado divorce, a certified and experienced family law attorney can help you. If you suspect that the other partner is hiding assets from you, some tools can get that information.
Through mandatory disclosures the system is designed to ensure that the information is brought to light during the divorce process, so all the financial and property issues are fully resolved in time.
Even if all the protections have been put in place, there are cases where a divorce may be finalized based on inaccurate and incomplete information or either of the two. This happens when the spouse who does not comply with financial assets disclosure laws hides their assets successfully while going through a divorce.
What Do You Do If You Suspect Your Spouse Is Hiding Assets In Divorce?
According to Colorado divorce laws, you cannot legally hide assets during the process of dissolution of marriage. The law requires you to give full financial disclosures of all assets. When a divorce is ongoing, it is a requirement for you to share full divulgence of assets under the penalty of prevarication. When disclosed assets are found, a family court has a high likelihood of assigning more significant benefits to the other spouse. The spouse hiding the assets can also be found in contempt, and they can end up serving a jail sentence.
Here are a few things that you can do when you suspect that your partner is hiding assets during a divorce.
Gather Financial Documents
Gather any new and old bank statements, investment records, credit card statements, real estate documents, receipts, as well as bills you can assess legally. Do not open a financial statement that has been addressed only to your spouse.
Be More Attentive
Look at your joint bank accounts, including savings accounts, retirement accounts, retirement plans, IRA Accounts, insurance documentation, and life insurance. Have you noticed large withdrawals or regular small withdrawals that end up adding up to a considerable sum? Be on the lookout for fund transfers or purchases that you know nothing of. Pay attention to frequent bank communications that regularly came into your inbox, but they no longer come in. Also, it is crucial to note bank communications that have only started recently.
Keep a Journal of all These Developments
Write down the notable changes in your marital assets and the changes in behavior in your spouse. Write down dates when possible.
Talk to an Attorney
Even if you are planning to go through the divorce process without an attorney and you decide to represent yourself, you should talk to a lawyer so they can give you legal guidance. When you have your findings with you, you should let an attorney know about it. They can pick up on some details that you could have missed, or they can help you find substantial evidence.
Signs That Your Spouse Is Hiding Assets During a Divorce
You will notice signs that indicate your spouse is hiding assets during a divorce. Here are some of the things that you will see.
They are Unwilling to Discuss Finances
Suppose you freely discussed finances before, but they are no longer willing to share that information with you. In that case, it is a sign that they could be hiding something.
The Disappearance of Bank Statements
You can notice that you are no longer getting bank statements in the mail, and neither are you getting new statements.
Giving or Lending Money to Others
Giving or lending money to others can become suspicious if it is frequent and out of the usual.
Sudden Expenses and Loan Payments
Sudden expenses and loans can signify that your spouse has a business that you still have no knowledge about. They may as well be paying off a loan that they bought using marital finances.
Complaints About Loss of Money
They complain about the loss of money in terms of a bad investment that they made or cut in their salary.
They are More Controlling of Finances
The spouse that is hiding assets can all of a sudden become more controlling of your finances or their finances.
Unusual Tax or Business Practices
If they are incurring taxes that are out of the ordinary, it can be a sign that they are hiding something.
It is important to note that these signs are not definitive proof that your partner is hiding assets, but they are definitely red flags that you should look into. Talk to an attorney about these red flags and let them help you to take steps to uncover any deceitful maneuvers that are being used during a divorce legally.
How Marital Assets Are Concealed
There are various ways that a spouse that is getting a divorce can hide their assets and finances. Some ways will be difficult to figure out since they are a higher understanding of asset management. Even as that is the case, there are methods of hiding property that are easy to figure out. This means that any spouse that is getting a divorce can try to hide their property worth illegally.
One way a spouse will attempt to hide their assets is by reporting less income and possessions contrary to what they have. At the same time, they exaggerate their debts and expenses.
Another way that they can do that is via the transfer of assets or finances to family or friends. They will move their financial assets from a joint account to an individual account that is secret. When the spouse that is attempting to hide their assets is expecting payments from clients, they can discreetly ask for the amount to be delayed until the divorce process is over.
Overpayment to the IRS can be made in an attempt to bring less money home than they usually do. They can reduce the tax exemption that they typically claim when they are paid, and it will lead to the IRS withholding more money in the form of taxes.
Some individuals result in wasting the value of their real estate properties to lower the property’s value. They can do this by destroying the property or not doing the necessary repairs.
Most of these tactics always leave a trail. The evidence can be found and presented in a court of law.
What happens If Hidden Assets Are Discovered After the Dissolution of Marriage?
There is a five-year lookback period in the case where you discover that a former spouse did not disclose marital property. There needs to be proof that the assets were essential and were not included in the original disclosure.
When the court decides that the assets should have been disclosed, you will have the opportunity to request the revision of a property division order. A lookback can also be asked if the property or asset that was revealed was misrepresented in terms of its value. However, you should note that a lookback will not be allowed if the financial records were supplied but were not reviewed. A lookback will also not be permitted if the documents on the property’s value were not requested.
It is vital that when you do decide to hire a divorce lawyer in El Paso County to represent you during a lookback, you hire a lawyer that can understand the complex process of the division after divorce decrees.
How to Find the Right Attorney to Work on Your Case
You must understand the finances and the value of the properties that your family has. This way, you will be able to be on the lookout for anything that seems out of the ordinary.
Aside from that, you need to work with a qualified and experienced attorney. An experienced lawyer will be able to coordinate any necessary investigation. They can tell if there is a need for an expert, such as an accountant, to go over your financial records.
For you to be able to find the best lawyer, you can ask for recommendations from family and friends. Also, you should turn to the media in your search. Write down a list of potential lawyers and prepare a list of questions to ask them.
It is essential to understand the proper steps to take when you realize or suspect that your spouse is hiding assets during a divorce proceeding in Colorado. Our lawyers at Brighter Day℠ Law will answer your questions, and we are ready to help you.