When you decided to file for divorce, you understood it would have financial implications in your life. Perhaps your biggest concern was whether or not you'd have enough resources to provide for your children's needs. Beyond that, you may also be worried that your spouse will try to gain the upper hand when it comes time for property division proceedings. Like most states, Colorado operates under equitable property division laws.
In community law states, judges typically split marital assets 50/50 in divorce. In this state and the majority of others, the court determines a fair division of assets and liabilities, which does not necessarily mean it will be an even split. If your spouse has grown defensive any time you ask about finances or has been acting rather secretive when it comes to his or her pay from work or other financial matters, it may be a sign that you are dealing with a hidden asset problem.
Be alert and investigate where warranted
It is not only a mean-spirited thing to do; hiding assets in divorce is illegal. You certainly aren't without recourse if you do suspect your spouse is being underhanded regarding your marital property. To the contrary, you can gather evidence as needed and seek the court's assistance to bring a hidden asset problem to a screeching halt. The following lists the most common tricks spouses use to hide assets:
- Opening a bank account for a minor
- Taking money out of a jointly owned account and depositing it into a separately owned account
- Asking an employer to delay a raise in pay or other incentive or bonus money
- Pretending to loan money to a relative or friend
- Stashing cash in a strong box, attic, trunk of a vehicle or other physical location
- Giving money to others and while claiming to be paying back a loan
- Selling artwork, jewels or other valuable items
- Purchasing luxury items and understating their value
If something happens to cause you concern, you can try to discuss it with your spouse. If you're not satisfied with his or her response, you may want to further investigate the situation. Divorce can be emotionally upsetting enough without worrying that the person to whom you were once married is willing to lie and try to deceive the court just to keep you from getting what's rightfully yours at settlement.
Seeking the court's intervention
No judge is going to take lightly to a spouse who is trying to beat the system. Uncovering a hidden asset problem may wind up working to your advantage in court. The court's priority is to determine a fair and agreeable division of property. You can ask someone well versed in Colorado property division laws to help you investigate and take action against a hidden asset problem.