Find Out About Hiding Assets During Divorce
The division of property and assets is one of the most important and cumbersome aspects of getting a divorce. Its aim is to ensure the fair distribution of community property and the protection of separate property in the case of marriage dissolution.
The final distribution of assets is featured in the Arizona divorce decree. What if a certain property or an asset is not included? Can this omission be addressed later on and how does the process take place?
A Decree Can Be Reopened in the Future (Provisionally!)
Rinegar v. Rinegar is a court case that set a precedent in Arizona. The couple (Margaret and Michael Rinegar) divorced in 2006. They entered a divorce agreement but it excluded retirement assets that Margaret had gotten due to her employment.
In 2010, Michael filed a motion to reopen the divorce decree in order to address the omitted assets. While Margaret opposed his motion, the Court of Appeals agreed that a divorce decree could be reopened whenever assets have been omitted.
Keep in mind, however, that dealing with assets that have been omitted intentionally or unintentionally is going to be difficult. The case will be examined on an individual basis so that the Arizona court can determine whether a modification to the current agreement is enforceable.
If you believe that some assets were omitted during the divorce property division, you will need to talk to an experienced family law attorney in Arizona. The amount of time that has passed, the specifics of the omission and the original decree will all have to be examined by the lawyer to build your case.
How to Address Property Omitted from a Divorce Decree?
Courts generally do not like opening up cases that have already been closed. This is why you’ll be left wondering what to do if your divorce decree does not include all property and assets.
The reason for the omission is going to be important.
Whenever property is left out due to a mistake, you can work things out with your ex-spouse on your own. The court is unlikely to reopen a divorce case due to such omission.
In other situations, however, an ex may attempt concealing property and assets intentionally. Such behavior deprives you of assets that you are legally entitled to. If you and your attorney can prove intentional omission for the purpose of ensuring financial gain for one of the spouses, you may be capable of getting the court to reopen the case and modify the divorce decree.
Let’s examine the following situation – your ex started an investment account in secret while you were still married. You knew nothing about the existence of the account. Your divorce was finalized, after which a common friend mentioned the investment your ex has. In this case, you can petition the court to reopen the case and reconsider the property division. If the court has enough evidence that the investment account was concealed intentionally, you will be entitled to 50 percent of it.
You may be entitled to some additional compensation in case fraudulent or intentional concealment can be proven on behalf of your ex. You will at least get coverage for your attorney fees accumulated during the legal process.
Click here for more information on a division of assets in divorce in Arizona.
Don’t Try to Hide Assets During a Divorce
If you hide, understate or undervalue assets during your divorce, you will eventually face the consequences.
At the same time, attempts to conceal property are common. A National Endowment for Financial Education study shows that three in five questioned people have hid cash from their spouse. Thirty-four percent of people admitted concealing information about finances or money earned.
While such behavior can save you some money during the divorce settlement, you may get yourself in a rather complicated situation. Talk to your lawyer and be honest about it. If you want to finalize the divorce and move forward with your life quickly, you will have to be honest and transparent in the communication with your ex.