In Colorado, when a couple divorces their marital property is split according to principles of equitable division. Marital property is all property obtained during the marriage by either spouse, with the exception of property acquired by one spouse as a gift or testamentary bequest.
Sometimes one spouse who has control of significant marital assets will try to hide those assets, or dissipate them, in an attempt to deny the other spouse their fair share. When the court learns of this, the consequences for the spouse hiding assets can be severe.
Under Colorado law, as soon as a petition for divorce is filed an automatic injunction is in place. This injunction prohibits a spouse from concealing, transferring or disposing of any marital property without the permission of the other spouse or the court. If the judge learns a spouse has violated this injunction, they can remedy the situation by requiring that spouse to repay the other spouse for their fair share, or by awarding the defrauded spouse other assets to make up for the hidden or depleted assets. If the wrongful conduct took place before the injunction was in place, the court can still exercise its equitable powers and take the action necessary to make the other spouse whole.
Of course, for these remedies to be available the wronged spouse has to discover the wrongdoing. If you believe your spouse is likely to try to hide or squander assets in the event of a divorce, it is important that you have an attorney who understands how to detect asset concealment and other fraud.
Source: Lexis Nexis, Colo. Rev. Stat. § 14-10-107(4)(b)(I)(2014), accessed on Dec. 22, 2014