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A fair division of marital assets relies upon honest disclosure

Many Colorado couples are fortunate enough to have amassed a considerable volume of wealth. When those marriages end in divorce, the division of marital assets can be a complex procedure. In order to reach a fair and balanced division of assets, it is imperative that both parties make an honest and full disclosure of all assets. In some cases, this is not the approach taken by one party to the divorce.

The urge to hide assets is often based on one spouse's belief that he or she earned the assets, and should therefore be able to retain that wealth after the marriage ends in divorce. This belief may be based in fact (if one spouse is the primary earner within the family) but is not in line with state divorce laws that govern property division. Some spouses will go to great lengths to shield assets from divorce, including placing wealth into foreign accounts.

A recent hacking incident has led to the release of more than 11 million documents connected to a Panamanian law firm that is believed to assist clients in hiding their wealth from both divorce and taxation. The firm, known as Mossack Fonseca, appears to have aided many of the world's wealthiest people in hiding assets in foreign corporations and other vehicles. According to an international journalism group, Mossack Fonseca has offered such services for multiple decades.

One of the ways that spouses attempt to hide wealth is by creating offshore corporations without the knowledge of their spouse. Those corporations are then used to transfer assets out of the United States and into the company, where they can be held until the divorce process is complete. Unless the other party is aware of the move, or hires the services of a forensic accountant to review the family's finances, this tactic can be effective. For those in Colorado who are concerned about whether their partner is being completely honest about the family's finances, it may be worthwhile to look into various means of double-checking the numbers involved in the division of marital assets.

Source: news.vice.com, "Divorce: One More Reason Why the Super Rich Want to Hide Their Money", John Dyer, April 14, 2016

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