FINDING HIDDEN ASSETS IN DIVORCE
Finding Hidden Assets in a Denver, Colorado Divorce
Property division in a divorce often results in a complicated process. What makes it even more complicated is that sometimes, a spouse will try to hide assets to avoid them getting divided. Even if you think your spouse would never do such a thing, you’d be surprised how often this occurs. That is why it is crucial to have an experienced family lawyer who can carefully comb through you and your spouse’s assets to ensure they are accounted for and evenly distributed. Hidden assets in divorce are much more common than you think.
At Litvak Litvak Mehrtens and Carlton, we handle even the most complex financial situations related to divorce. If you need help finding hidden assets in divorce that your spouse attempts to conceal, we’ll get the job done. Our Denver divorce attorneys with years of experience will walk you through every step of the process. To arrange a consultation with us, please call 303-951-4506 or fill out our online intake form.
What to Do if You Suspect Your Spouse Is Hiding Assets
The divorce process in Colorado legally requires both parties to disclose their assets to both each other and the court. This ensures that everyone understands everyone else’s financial situation. Courts generally use this information to calculate things like child support and alimony, as well as to divide the property fairly. However, many spouses try to break this law to avoid losing what’s “theirs” or to influence their post judgment maintenance obligations. Luckily, there are some steps you can take to remedy this situation.
- Gather evidence: Gather proof of financial mismanagement, prohibited transactions, or income/expense disparities before addressing your spouse about hidden assets.
- Relevant documents or tax returns
- Joint bank account statements
- Pictures of unaccounted assets, like jewelry or gifts
- Affidavits from family and friends with relevant information
- Salary and withholdings from their employer
- Cash transaction records
- Bills, plus other expenses
- Hire a professional: Consider seeking independent legal advice if you find evidence of illegal or concealed transactions. To aid you in tracking down lost assets, recover fraudulently transferred cash, and petition for court protection, a Denver divorce attorney may work with private investigators and accountants. A lawyer will also arrange property partition negotiations with opposing lawyers.
- File for legal protection: Because couples typically share property rights, you may need to file a divorce petition to protect yourself and your family. Orders to freeze bank accounts, provide further financial documentation, remove one spouse from the residence, or otherwise prevent obviously fraudulent acts may result from judicial rulings.
Is It Illegal to Hide Assets During a Divorce?
When it comes to divorces, they may be ugly and difficult, but one thing you never want to do is hide assets. Disclosure of all assets, including debt, income, and spending, is a legal obligation for divorcing spouses. When one spouse has more than the other, it may be tempting to cheat or lie in order to maintain more of the asset. Even though it’s against the law to hide assets during a divorce, some individuals do it nonetheless, especially if they’re the larger earner.
According to the National Endowment for Financial Education, around 31% of US people who share assets with their spouse admit to lying about money throughout their marriage. While either side in a marriage can lie about their riches, men are more prone than women to do so. It is not only unethical and unjust to lie during a divorce case, but it is also unlawful. When an individual signs a court document, the rules of civil process state that they acknowledge that the contents of the document are accurate and correct.
When a couple signs the financial affidavit, which is needed in all disputed and some uncontested divorce cases, they are pledging to disclose the truth about all of their finances. This covers all debts, earnings, assets, costs, liabilities, and other financial obligations. Because it is illegal to lie about one’s assets in a divorce process, it is critical to engage a professional divorce attorney to manage the matter. Having someone with professional knowledge on your side can help you stay on the right side of the law while still looking out for your financial future.
How to Hide Assets in a Divorce
Attorneys and forensic accountants have seen many typical techniques that spouses try to hide assets throughout the years. The following are some of the most prevalent approaches.
- Exaggerating their debts
- Hiding marital assets by storing them elsewhere, taking out loans only in their name, putting cash in bank deposit boxes, or even sending payroll checks to a P.O. box
- Stating a lower income than they actually made
- Stating higher expenses than they actually had
- Hiding their billing statements
- Moving assets to a separate account
- Overpaying their taxes
- Cash withdrawals using debit or credit cards
- Faking expenses
Keep in mind that these are just a few of the ways that spouses have devised hiding their assets over the years. Many more options exist, although none of them are legal. For more information on the shady tactics divorcing persons use for hidden assets in divorce, contact Litvak Litvak Mehrtens and Carlton today.
How to Uncover Hidden Assets in Divorce
If you believe your spouse is hiding money or assets, the first thing you should do is consult an experienced divorce attorney who can assist you in locating the property and taking actions to safeguard your rights to it and other assets. Finding hidden assets in divorce necessitates the acquisition of specific documentation. Here are some papers that may be useful in locating concealed financial accounts and assets.
- Tax return documents
- Bank statements
- Applications for loans
- Credit card statements
- Business records
- Public records
How to Find Hidden Money in a Divorce
One of the greatest places to start is with your tax returns. Most individuals are truthful because they are afraid of facing penalties, fines, and even incarceration. Even a spouse who is attempting to conceal money from you will be hesitant to do so from the IRS. Check for any discrepancies in income, the presence of trusts, partnerships, or real estate interests going back at least 5 years.
Examining bank statements and canceled checks can disclose a lot of information. A canceled check for an unknown purchase, such as an investment property, might have a significant impact on the overall assets to be split. Even more revealing are account statements and canceled checks from accounts you weren’t aware of. During the discovery process of your divorce, make sure you obtain copies of ALL financial records.
Unusual contributions or withdrawals may be discovered in savings accounts. Deposits and withdrawals may indicate the presence of a hidden asset, such as a dividend-paying investment. If you detect anything out of the ordinary with your withdrawals or deposits, pay attention. Also, before you split, make copies of any bank account statements.
When looking for hidden wealth, the courthouse is an excellent resource. If they took out a loan from a bank or a mortgage business, the courthouse will have their loan application on file. In order to receive money from a bank, a person fills out a loan application. A list of the person’s assets, as well as an estimate of their worth, will be included in the application.
Should I Confront My Spouse About Hidden Assets?
No. Do not confront your spouse about hidden assets or accuse them of keeping them hidden. Confronting them might result in a fight or them concealing their wealth more effectively. If you suspect your spouse of concealing assets, it’s essential to consult with an attorney about future measures.
How Can a Denver Divorce Attorney Help Me?
While an individual defending himself can accomplish much of what an attorney can, an attorney from Litvak Litvak Mehrtens and Carlton is a more experienced option. A knowledgeable family law attorney is acquainted with the methods used to conceal assets and can assist you in locating and proving any concealed assets. Because this is often the spouse’s first or even second attempt to hide assets in a divorce, the attorney has considerably more expertise identifying assets than they do hiding them.
Several discovery tools can be utilized throughout the divorce discovery process. The first step is to ask for further information or papers. An attorney understands which papers are required and which will be useful throughout the discovery process, such as interrogatories and depositions.
Any bank where you think your spouse has an account can be served with a subpoena by you and your counsel. The bank will subsequently be required to furnish all records relating to your spouse’s name. If the bank does not comply, it may be held in contempt of court.
Contact Litvak Litvak Mehrtens and Carlton Today
In the case of finding hidden assets in divorce and protecting your rights to marital property, you need someone with the knowledge and experience it takes to properly represent you. At Litvak Litvak Mehrtens and Carlton, we have over 65 years representing the Colorado area in high asset divorce cases. Our attorneys are skilled in locating hidden assets and properly valuing them in order for them to be equally distributed between you and your spouse. If you have any questions about finding hidden assets in divorce, contact us today. Give us a call at 303-951-4506 or fill out our intake form online.