In Connecticut, courts divide marital properties and debt fairly and equitably between spouses during a divorce. To ensure an accurate distribution, the court applies several steps, such as identifying assets and assessing their value accurately through professional valuators.
However, despite this thorough process, the courts might not detect some parties’ fraudulent acts, resulting in an inequitable division of properties.
Fortunately, a party who discovers that the other committed fraud, resulting in an inaccurate distribution of marital properties, can seek a post-judgement modification.
What constitutes fraud in property division?
Common fraudulent acts in property division that can significantly impact the equitable distribution of assets include the following:
- Hiding assets: One spouse may hide money, investments or other assets to prevent them from being part of the marital estate and being subject to division.
- Undervaluing assets: A spouse might intentionally underestimate the value of certain marital assets to reduce the amount the other spouse receives.
- Misrepresenting the nature or value of marital property: This includes overstating debts, not disclosing the existence of certain properties and manipulating business assets.
Any intentional act by a spouse related to the marital properties aiming to put themselves at an unfair advantage or the other spouse at a disadvantage may qualify as fraud in the context of property division.
What to know before filing for modification
A post-judgment modification based on fraud typically requires that the fraud was not discoverable at the time of the original judgment through reasonable diligence. Moreover, the party alleging fraud must provide evidence that the other party intentionally misrepresented or omitted information relevant to the properties they should have disclosed in the initial proceedings.
When the court confirms the occurrence of fraud
If the court finds that fraud did occur, it can order various remedies, such as a redistribution of assets, monetary compensation or sanctions against the offending party. Ultimately, it will depend on the unique facts and circumstances of the case.
If a party suspects that their spouse committed fraud during the property division process, it is critical to address these concerns within the time limits and according to the court’s procedures protect their rights and property interests.