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Worried your spouse is hiding assets during your divorce?

Divorce can often bring out the worst in people. Emotions run high, and otherwise law-abiding, decent people can become angry and aggressive. In some cases, both spouses feel desperate to "win" the divorce by seeking full custody of the children or more assets when the property gets split up by the courts. This urge can lead some people to try to hide assets immediately prior to or during a divorce.

The higher your overall marital assets, the greater the potential motivation for your spouse to try to hide some of those assets from you and the courts during the divorce. After all, if certain assets don't get reported to the courts, the courts won't be able to divide them between you both. If you suspect hidden assets, you need to inform your attorney and take action as soon as possible.

Colorado courts can only divide assets they know about

Part of filing for divorce includes determining how to split up your possessions. If you have a prenuptial agreement on record or can agree to terms with your spouse, that makes the process easier. For many divorcing couples, however, the courts must step in and decide how to divide marital possessions. In order to do so fairly and equitably as required by state law, they require an inventory of assets from the couple divorcing.

You can only include assets you know about in your inventory, so it's critical that you take the time to locate any and all assets acquired during your marriage. Bank records, tax documents and income history can help you determine if there's something missing. If you can't make sense of it on your own, the help of a forensic accountant could prove invaluable. After all, missing assets when you provide the courts with your inventory could result in an uneven and unfair asset division outcome.

There's more than one way for a spouse to hide assets

Many people focus on hidden bank accounts, including offshore accounts or investment accounts. There's no question that these accounts can harbor substantial amounts of marital assets. However, hidden accounts are just one way your spouse may try to hide assets prior to a divorce.

You also need to look carefully for regular cash withdrawals. What may seem like funds for daily spending could actually be an attempt to build up a substantial cash savings, hidden off the books. Similarly, reviewing receipts from stores associated with debit card purchases is a smart decision. Many stores allow cash withdrawal at the point of sale in the same transaction as paying for a purchase.

Finally, don't overlook hobbies and collections, including fine art or classic cars. While you may not have an interest in these items, they can represent a huge amount of money that the courts should consider in your asset division process.

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