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Don't hide assets in a divorce -- you will get caught

Sometimes it starts by just squirreling a little money away during the divorce process to keep it secret from one's spouse. However, hiding assets in a divorce can often escalate to more than just a secret bank account. Sometimes, a spouse in Colorado hides assets in an offshore account or transfers the assets to a relative or friend to keep the assets secret from the other spouse. A spouse may open up his or her own safe-deposit box, investment accounts and more. However, what a spouse needs to keep in mind is that hiding assets in a divorce is illegal, and in today's electronic age, not as simple as it might have been in years past.

Gone are the days where one would have to investigate a literal paper trail to uncover hidden assets. These days, it is possible to find information on hidden assets in emails, in an ex's Internet browsing history, in posts made on social media accounts and by examining past tax returns, property records and company benefits websites. There is even computer software available that can analyze one's financial statements to find inaccuracies.

If a person believes his or her spouse is hiding assets in a divorce, it is imperative that they discuss the matter with an attorney experienced in uncovering hidden assets in a lawful manner. Privacy laws do exist, so it is important that they are not violated. If a person uncovers hidden assets in an illegal way, it is possible that such evidence will be inadmissible in court.

Therefore, while hiding assets is illegal, one should make sure that any digging they do to try to uncover such assets is done legally. Doing so can give them an advantage not just in court, but also when it comes to negotiating a divorce settlement out-of-court, especially in a high-asset divorce. Taking this step might seem challenging and overwhelming, but it will help ensure a fair divorce settlement in the end.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Uncovering Hidden Assets in Divorce Litigation," David Centeno, Oct. 15, 2014

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