Hiding Assets in a Divorce in Arizona
When you get into marriage, the last thing on your mind is that you may end up going through a divorce. However, for whatever reasons, you may find that you and your spouse are incompatible and that separation is necessary. That does not mean that the divorce process is going to be straightforward.
What happens if you suspect that your spouse is hiding assets that should be a part of the divorce settlement?
While this sounds like something that should be straightforward, hidden assets are not always easy to discover or prove. Today, we want to talk about why one spouse (or both) would want to hide assets and what you can do about it. If you need help with this issue, please secure an Arizona divorce attorney to get you through this.
What is important to know about Arizona’s property division?
Arizona is a community property state. This means that the marital property is shared equally by the two spouses. In the event of a divorce, there will have to be an equal and equitable distribution of the marital property. However, this does not mean there will be an exact 50/50 split. A fair and equitable decision will be made depending on the parties’ unique circumstances.
Consider all of the following that needs to be divided:
- The marital residence
- Pensions, IRAs, 401(k)s
- Stocks, commissions, and salaries
- Vehicles, RVs, and boats
- Other real estate
- Furniture, artwork, collectibles
- And more
What about separate property?
Any property that a person obtained before their marriage will be considered separate property in the event of a divorce. That property will remain theirs. However, many spouses comingle their property during the course of a marriage, transmuting it into marital property. In this case, it too will be considered community property.
Why would anyone hide assets?
To put it simply, one spouse may want to cheat the other out of what they deserve in a divorce.
- One spouse may not be truthful about their income because they do not want to pay spousal maintenance (alimony) or they want to pay as little as possible when it comes to child support
- One spouse may not be truthful about their expenses because they want to be paid more than they otherwise would receive in alimony or child support.
- In many cases, assets are hidden because the parties disagree with how much they will have to split with their spouse.
Please understand that these lies are illegal.
If you discover that your spouse is hiding assets during the divorce process, or you suspect that they are, it is important that you share this information with your attorney. Do not directly confront your spouse. Divorces are already emotionally charged, and it will do nobody any good to have an emotionally heated confrontation.
Instead, it is important to gather evidence that your attorney can use to show that your spouse is cheating the system:
- Financial statements
- Tax returns
- Property titles and deeds
If you do not discover that your spouse lied about assets until after a divorce is finalized, do not worry. You can petition the court for a modification with the evidence that you and your attorney gather.
Find an attorney to get to the bottom of this
We know that this is not what you expected to be dealing with, but it is important that you take the steps necessary to protect yourself during the divorce process. By seeking assistance from a qualified and experienced Arizona divorce attorney, you can ensure you are being treated fairly. Hidden assets are a big deal. Hiding them is illegal. Let your attorney get to the bottom of what is going on so you can get back to living your life.
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