Spouses may be hiding marital property and assets

When dividing marital property in a divorce case, it is important to make sure a spouse is not hiding property and/or assets.

When couples decide to end their marriage, the property that they have accumulated during the course of their marriage is eligible for division. Arizona is a community property state, which means that all marital property is divided equally in half between spouses. In order for the court-appointed judge to distribute the property, each party is required to disclose all property and assets. In some situations, however, one party may try to hide away property and assets in an attempt to keep possession of those items after the divorce is finalized.

Property that is eligible for division

Before a judge will determine who is entitled to what in the divorce settlement, he or she must distinguish between marital and separate property. Marital property and assets are those that either spouse obtained while married. This includes homes, vehicles, vacation property and furniture. However, there are less common items that are also considered marital, such as antiques, art collections, country club memberships, 401k plans and stocks.

Signs a spouse may be hiding property

While it may be difficult to determine whether or not a spouse is hiding property and/or assets, there are some signs to look for. For example, spouses that have exclusive access to financial accounts and are the only ones to have account numbers and passwords may have an unfair advantage when it comes to hiding assets.

Others key signs of marital dishonesty in disclosing property may occur when a spouse engages in the following behaviors:

  • Has several bank accounts and may have an account in another country.
  • Has a post office box or has mail delivered to another address.
  • Certain financial records suddenly disappear.
  • Starts to ask for signatures on multiple forms without explanation.
  • Spends excessive amounts of various high-priced items.

In some cases, a spouse may give a close family member or friend a piece of property or money as a gift. Once the divorce is finalized, the spouse will then transfer the money or property back into his or her name.

Seeking legal assistance

Whether you are going through a simple divorce or you are involved in a heated courtroom battle, you may want to seek the legal counsel of an attorney in Arizona. A lawyer who understands the state divorce laws may be extremely critical to your case. It is important to make sure that you receive everything that you are entitled to in the divorce settlement.