Arizona law dictates that most things acquired during a marriage count as community property. In other words, they belong to both partners, so they need to be shared in divorce.
Financial responsibilities are rarely evenly distributed in a marriage, however. It’s not unusual for one partner to control the finances, which can put the other spouse at a disadvantage during a divorce. The spouse with control may choose to hide assets to keep more when the marriage ends, as illustrated in a current high asset divorce battle involving billionaire businessman Ed Bosarge. His wife is accusing him of hiding a billion dollars or more, which is making their divorce a high-profile issue. It has become illustrative of the lengths that a spouse can go to hide their assets — and just how difficult it can be to overcome those methods.
For example, one of the couple’s disputes is over jewelry. Gifts made to one spouse in a divorce are usually considered separate property belonging to the person given it. Bosarge’s wife alleges he gave her a multi-million dollar piece of jewelry as a Christmas gift. He claims it was an investment made by a trust he set up, and therefore not hers — so he took it back.
There are three tactics being used to hide wealth that have entered the spotlight thanks to thanks to the divorce mentioned above, including:
- Offshore trusts: These can be used to hide community property from a spouse and avoid US tax obligations.
- Domestic asset protection trusts: Unlike standard trusts, these allow the creator to use assets for their benefit while protecting them from creditors or spouses in a divorce.
- Trust decanting: A way of moving assets out of an irrevocable trust, thus removing a beneficiary without their knowledge. Certain states specialize in this.
There are many ways to hide assets in a divorce. If your partner is trying to cheat you out of what you are due, it is vital to seek an experienced high asset divorce attorney. They can assess the situation and bring in the specialists you need to track down the hidden wealth.