Discovery of Non-Disclosed Assets After Divorce

Discovery of Non-Disclosed Assets After Divorce

If there is one thing that is never easy in divorce, it is financial discussions. These conversations about the division of assets and debts can be fraught with things like anger, blame, fear, secrecy, and more. Even spouses that are amicably divorcing may fear their spouse has hidden assets, despite being legally required to disclose all assets. Even with forensic accounting, there are times when someone succeeds in hiding assets that go undiscovered before reaching a final judgment. But, whether it is 1 month or 10 years, if you discover non-disclosed assets after you have reached a divorce decree that has been signed by a judge, all is not lost.

You may be reading this and thinking my spouse and I no longer want to be married but we would never lie in a court of law about our assets or try to be malicious or vindictive with money. Unfortunately, people surprise us often and hiding assets is very common in divorce. Arizona is a community property state which means that all property and assets accumulated during the marriage must be divided between spouses.

The ramifications of the discovery of non-disclosed assets vary from state to state. But, when non-disclosed assets are discovered, even after a final divorce decree, there are consequences as WIFE, the Women’s Institute for Financial Learning, points out, “Judges have a lot of leeway when it comes to determining a punishment for spouses who hide assets. It may be that if you can compellingly prove that your spouse hid assets, the judge will simply order your spouse to give your half of the value of those assets to you. This is what you would have gotten if the assets had been known during the time of the divorce. Of course, some judges like to add a little sting to their rulings against shady spouses. A judge can make your spouse hand over the entire value of the hidden assets to you as a punishment…In the most serious cases, a spouse can even be arrested for hiding assets, though this is usually a last-resort scenario when an ex-spouse still refuses to pay up even after it’s been proven that he hid assets.”

If you think your spouse has non-disclosed assets or you have discovered non-disclosed assets, speak to an experienced attorney or mediator to determine how to proceed with getting what you deserve.

About Oliver Ross

Oliver Ross, JD*, PhD founded Out-of-Court Solutions Inc. in 1995 and since then has mediated over 3,000 divorce and family matters. He is a select member of the Maricopa Superior Court Family Mediation roster