What Do You Do If You Are Mediating Your Arizona Divorce , But You Think That Your Spouse May Have Hidden Assets?
Some parties to a divorce think that the other party has hidden assets. It is true that people can, and undoubtedly have, successfully hidden assets before, whether involved in a litigated or mediated case. Mediation can address complex issues, like hidden assets.
At times, it is just a lack of information about the family finances that renders parties suspicious. An open discussion and a review of documentation in mediation often makes a difference.
Some ways to address the situation in mediation include:
• Listing assets. To ensure transparency, the mediator generally requires both parties to list all of the assets before the mediation begins. That list includes real property, financial accounts, vehicles, retirement accounts and businesses. The parties exchange this information.
• Requesting documentation from the other person. Once both parties know what assets exist, they can look at bank records and other financial records to understand the situation.
• Retaining an expert to review the financial records. A financial expert can help determine if there are hidden assets. Especially where the finances are complex, there is nothing wrong with involving an expert in the mediation process to assist. The mediator can generally refer the parties to financial professionals.
• Adding an avowal in the binding mediated agreement from the other party that there are no other assets than those disclosed. Such avowals often give the questioning party some sense of security that they are not leaving property on the table.
• Adding a clause in the mediated agreement that addresses assets found after the divorce. For example, if a hidden asset is discovered, the parties can agree that it will belong to the other party, in whole or in part. The parties can also agree that the other party has to pay any mediation or attorney’s fees and costs related to mediation or litigation regarding any assets discovered after the divorce.
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