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Finding hidden assets

It is often said that the person someone marries is not the same person as he or she divorces. During the course of a marriage, Colorado couples may work together as a team by combining their income and assets together. However, during a divorce, individuals may attempt to hide assets so that they can wind up with a greater stake after the marriage has ended.

Individuals may attempt to hide assets in a variety of ways. A classic method is to wire them to an offshore account. Another way is to give cash to a loved one who then purchases and holds an asset until after the divorce. Other individuals may decide to loan their loved ones sums that they do not disclose as a marital asset.

Once all of the relevant assets are disclosed, individuals may be able to reach an agreement about how to divide them. Otherwise, a judge will make the property division determination in the absence of an accord. With assets that are not liquid, it may be easiest for the couple to reach an agreement about their disposition. Otherwise, they may be at the mercy of a judge's order that does not recognize a correlation between the order and the value of the asset. For example, a judge may give all of a business interest to one spouse and order that same spouse to pay the other spouse for a specific period of time. If that business goes bankrupt, the spouse that owns it may wind up still paying the other spouse in exchange for a now worthless asset.

An attorney with experience in divorce matters may be of assistance in locating or placing a value on complex marital assets. This could serve to be an integral step in reaching an equitable property distribution.

Source: Financial Planning, "Finding Hidden Assets: Digging Deep in HNW Divorce", Andrew Pavia, March 24, 2014

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