Tuesday, May 7, 2013

What happens when a party does not fully disclose all debts and assets prior to the entry of the dissolution decree?

By Jessica M. Cotter, Esq.

On occasion there may be assets or debts that were not included in the Decree of Dissolution of Marriage. Pursuant to 25-318(b) the property or debt is treated as what is termed tenants in common with each party owning one- half of the property and being responsible for one-half of the debt.

Before you file with the court if such an error occurred you must first look at the terms of the Decree of Dissolution of Marriage.  There may be language in the decree that prevents you from bringing the action or language that protects you from the debt.

If the parties discover the issue and attempt to remedy it out of court make sure that any agreement is done in writing, signed by both parties, before a notary. If it is not once the property is transferred out of the parties name the family court cannot address the issue. Then it is in the hands of the civil court and they will also require something in writing.

 If you do find that an asset or debt was left out of the Decree of Dissolution I highly recommend talking with an experienced attorney in your area because it is a complicated issue to handle without assistance.   It is an area of family law that is very fact specific and must be handled the correctly, otherwise you could lose the property or be responsible for a debt you did not know existed.

The Law Firm of Jessica M. Cotter, P.L.L.C.
18301 North 79th Avenue, Suite F-186
Glendale, Arizona, 85308

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