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How to stop a hidden asset scheme in a divorce

On Behalf of | May 9, 2023 | Divorce

If you file a petition in a Colorado court to dissolve your marriage, you and your former spouse must discuss numerous issues to achieve a fair settlement. If you are parents, such issues will no doubt be a primary focus of proceedings. When both parties are willing to cooperate and compromise for the well-being of the family, it’s possible to settle a divorce in a peaceful, amicable fashion. That’s not always what happens, though. What if your ex is trying to get away with a hidden asset scheme?

Hiding assets in a divorce is unlawful. If you suspect this is happening in your case, it’s wise to bring the matter to the court’s attention. The court will not “take your word for it,” however. You must be prepared to back up your allegations with evidence. There are numerous ways to hide assets, but some are more common than others.

Moving money little by little may be part of a hidden asset scheme

If your ex wants to “stash cash” to keep you from getting your fair share in property division proceedings, he or she might start shifting money from one account to another. Another way to transfer money is to ask a friend or family member to hold onto it. Has your spouse recently told you that he or she was loaning someone money or paying back a loan? If so, it could be a red flag that a hidden asset scheme is taking place.

Has your spouse done some expensive shopping lately?

Have you noticed that your spouse has suddenly taken an interest in artwork and has started a collection? Maybe he or she has purchased jewelry or a new car or boat. Before settling your divorce, it’s critical to determine whether he or she used marital funds to make such purchases. If so, then you’re entitled to a portion of their value under Colorado property guidelines.

Another thing spouses do when they want to hide assets is understate the value of their assets. So, in the case of a painting or sculpture, for instance, your ex might list its value substantially lower than it actually is. This violates full disclosure rules in divorce.

Other places to look for hidden assets

If your spouse recently helped one of your children open a juvenile account at the bank, then his or her name is on the account. This is a common trick many asset-hiding spouses use to hide money because they can deposit or withdraw from the account with no questions asked.

What should you do if you suspect your ex is trying to cheat the system?

If you inquire about questionable financial activity, and your ex gets angry or defensive, this is yet another sign that you might be dealing with a hidden asset problem. You have several options to try to resolve the issue, including hiring a forensics accountant to track your ex’s expenditures and financial endeavors.

You can also address the issue in court. When you demonstrate evidence to prove that your ex is hiding assets, the court can hold him or her in contempt for perjury. It’s wise to have someone on your side who understands Colorado property division laws and can help you protect your interests.