Your divorce is finalized. All your property is divided. Your case is closed. Now you discover your spouse hid assets, what do you do?
A major part of divorce proceedings focus on finances. Thus, hiding assets in a divorce is a more common occurrence than many would believe. Despite the Court’s continuous attempts and expectations of creating an equitable equalization of parties’ properties the Court is only able to divide those assets which are disclosed by the parties. Disclosures made in a dissolution of marriage are expected to be full and honest, disclosing all facts that materially affect the rights and interests of the parties. Additionally, such disclosures are expected to be provided without requiring inquiries or requests by either party. When assets are intentionally withheld, hidden, moved, or disposed of by one party without the knowledge or endorsement of the other party such actions can create grounds for the court to reopen the asset division of the divorce proceedings.
The Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 16.2(e)(10) grants the Court jurisdiction over the divorce proceedings in cases where one spouse has hid assets from the other. C.R.C.P. 16.2(e)(10) states, “it is the duty of the parties to an action for decree of dissolution of marriage, legal separation, or invalidity of marriage, to provide full disclosures of all material assets and liabilities. If the disclosure contains misstatements or omissions, the court shall retain jurisdiction after the entry of a final decree or judgment for a period of five (5) years to allocate material assets or liabilities, the omission or non-disclosure of which materially affects the division of assets and liabilities.” Failure to comply with the disclosure requirements in a divorce proceeding which results in the reopening of the case can have serious consequences for the non-disclosing party. The law empowers the Court with the ability to impose a variety of penalties against the non-disclosing party. For example, the Court could require the untruthful spouse to pay the other spouse’s attorney fees, to transfer the entire value of the hidden assets to the other spouse, or both.
If you feel your spouse hid assets during your divorce, contact us today. At Jorgensen, Brownell & Pepin, P.C. we understand the stresses involved in divorce proceedings. Our attorneys are experienced and supportive.