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Finding hidden wealth in a high asset divorce

Some spouses, anticipating a divorce, will try to hide assets. Unfortunately this is just as true in Colorado as anywhere else. When a spouse owns a business, the opportunities to hide income or assets multiply. A spouse who suspects the other spouse of hiding assets will have to engage in some detective work to find the hidden wealth. A recent article in an out-of-state business journal gives an overview of some of the places to look.

Tax returns are one of the best places to look. A spouse looking for suspicious activity should scrutinize the amounts given for business income or loss and tax-exempt interest. If the spouse owns a business, the other spouse should examine Schedule C, which lists profit and loss for the business. Entries for income from real estate will help identify any real estate in which the spouse has an interest.

A review of cancelled checks and bank statements may reveal funds transferred to friends or family members, in order to deplete bank accounts that would be subject to equitable division in the divorce. Applications for loans and mortgages can be especially revealing; people applying for a loan usually want to paint a solid financial picture for the potential lender and are less likely to understate assets and income on the applications.

Under Colorado law, most property acquired by either spouse during the marriage is considered marital property which must be divided equitably between the parties. If a dishonest spouse is successful in hiding money or assets, it can significantly diminish the share the other spouse receives. A family law attorney experienced in complex asset division issues can be invaluable in helping a spouse discover hidden assets.

Source: NJBiz.com, "Industry Insights: Discovering hidden assets in divorce," Angela M. Scafuri, April 21, 2014

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