How to Address Hidden Assets in an Arizona Divorce
Divorces can get ugly, especially if the two partners involved can’t reach an agreement about the division of assets. There have been instances in which former partners have attempted to conceal assets to keep them from getting divided. Do you suspect that your ex is hiding assets or are you considering this possibility for valuables? If so, you will need to acquaint yourself with regulations and procedures that will apply to hidden assets in an Arizona divorce.
Arizona Regulations Pertaining to Family Assets
In Arizona, it is mandatory for both individuals going through the divorce to disclose information about assets and sources of income. The assets that have to be outlined prior to the divorce include real estate, bank accounts, investment portfolios, business interests, collections featuring valuables or rare items, etc.
A person who suspects that their ex is hiding assets can employ various legal tools to address the issue of hidden assets in an Arizona divorce.
While the discovery process is taking place (the process that outlines marital assets), one spouse can compel the other to produce documents and evidence about their financial status. An experienced lawyer can be very helpful when it comes to the type of documents to request.
Both spouses have the right to ask the other one about financial affairs. A person who lies could be held in contempt of court. Depending on the situation, a court may ask the spouse in question to provide additional evidence or documents about their financial status and sources of income.
A last resort possibility is hiring financial and forensic experts that will face the task of uncovering hidden assets. A forensic accountant is an experienced professional who can trace the flow of money and financial resources for the purpose of determining whether the current documents someone provides are an accurate reflection of their income level.
Will There be Consequences?
Will there be consequences for the provision of misleading information about assets? If you are considering the possibility as a way to keep some of your income or valuables, you should be aware of the potential repercussions.
There are several ways in which hiding assets can lead to unpleasant consequences.
Being questioned in court and providing misleading information under oath will lead to perjury charges. In the context of a divorce, spouses could also be asked to sign financial affidavits. These documents are also signed under the penalty of perjury for the provision of misleading information.
A court can rely on several remedies to address hidden assets in divorce proceedings.
People who violate the Arizona asset disclosure laws will be asked to pay a fine. Alternatively, they may be ordered by court to pay for the attorney fees of their former significant other. Asset claims may also be dismissed. Finally, people who commit perjury could also face criminal charges and jail time depending on the severity of the offense.
Getting Prepared for Asset Division
Asset division will require a lot of research and work on behalf of both parties involved. Most often, former spouses will be truthful and the process will go smoothly. Whenever significant assets have to be allocated, however, things can become more complicated.
If you believe that your partner is hiding assets, you will need to go through the following steps in order to get the issue examined in court:
- Request document deposition from your former spouse
- Submit interrogatories and requests for admission
- Get answers in a court session under the penalty of perjury
- File a motion to compel whenever a spouse is uncooperative during the divorce proceedings
Upon necessity, you can consider hiring a forensic accountant. The involvement of such a professional, however, will make things more expensive and it will also increase the amount of time needed to finalize asset division. Make sure that you have exhausted all other options before moving on to this one.