It's no secret that divorce is a major life-changing event, and also that it is often a stressful, difficult experience for those involved. Even if you are the one who initially filed a petition in an Arizona court, you may still find yourself trying to process a whole range of emotions, from frustration and anger to sorrow or loneliness. Cutting ties with a spouse and moving on in life is challenging enough without having to deal with extenuating issues that cause stress levels to soar.
In addition to a child custody battle, one of the most stressful things that can happen in a divorce occurs when a spouse tries to hide assets in order to gain the upper hand in property division proceedings. If you suspect your spouse might be doing such a thing, you'll want to be on the lookout for evidence and learn more about how to resolve such issues.
Hiding assets in divorce is illegal
It's understandable that you might feel hurt or betrayed if you believe your spouse is trying to give you the short end of the stick when the court conducts property division proceedings in your divorce. Arizona operates under community property regulations, which means the court typically splits all marital assets and liabilities 50/50 in divorce.
The court can hold a spouse in contempt for intentionally failing to disclose financial information or for stashing cash or otherwise scheming to tip the scales of division in his or her favor.
Where to look for evidence
In the past, there have been several common ways that Arizona spouses and others have tried to hide assets in divorce. If you have children and your spouse's name is on a custodial bank account, that's a good place to start your investigation. It's easy for a parent whose name is on such an account to move money in and out without raising suspicion.
If your spouse claims to be lending money to a relative or friend, it may or may not be a problem for concern. Also, claiming to be paying back a loan might be suspicious behavior, especially if you were unaware that your spouse had ever borrowed money from the person.
Other signs of a hidden asset problem
Delaying bonus or incentive pay income is another common means for stashing cash in divorce. Your spouse can easily request that his or her employer delay the payment until after the court finalizes your divorce. Some spouses hide money by overpaying on a credit card balance or on income tax forms filed with the Internal Revenue Service.
Expensive purchases are often signs of a hidden asset problem as well. Your spouse might buy a painting or antique, then understate its value when it comes time to fully disclose your marital property and debts to the court.
The law is on your side
Accusing someone of an unlawful deed is no doubt a serious and stressful matter. It's helpful to try to remain calm and focus on the fact that what your spouse is doing (if evidence proves so) is illegal. You have rights and should obtain a fair settlement, which the court cannot truly issue if the other party involved is not being honest in proceedings. Knowing your rights and how to protect them is critical to achieving a positive outcome.