3 Ways to Protect Your Assets During a Divorce
April 27, 2023
Divorce is one of those "This will never happen to me" moments that unexpectedly "happens" to you. And as if the shock of shattered dreams is not bad enough, suddenly, your assets are in question. Here are 3 ways to help protect your assets during a divorce. This list is not exhaustive so there are other things you can do.
So, how do you legally protect your assets during the divorce? Here's how.
1. Do not "hide" assets
There's a huge difference between protecting and hiding assets. Protection is legal, while hiding is illegal. If the court finds that you attempted to transfer assets after the divorce proceedings began, you will be in trouble. The Court can hold you in contempt, make you pay the other side's legal fees, and simply decide that your word cannot be trusted and so your statements get less consideration in other parts of the case such as child custody.
For instance, instead of trying to hide money, be open with your spouse about separating bank accounts. Suppose you must withdraw funds from a joint account for fear your soon-to-be ex might wipe it clean. It does happen. Then you would decide to transfer half of the money to a new account so you can show that the money has not disappeared or frivolously spent. It's best to let your spouse know as soon as possible after you have transferred the money. You really don’t want a race to the bank to clean out the accounts.
2. DO NOT COMMINGLE ASSETS
There are some property classifications that are not divisible in divorce cases. For example an inheritance you receive, your property you acquired before the marriage, gifts you receive. If you put your inheritance into a joint account it very likely will become marital property… Keep separate property separate.
3. Hire a divorce attorney
So divorce attorneys cost money, but they can be the shot in the arm you need to protect your assets and rights. Attorneys are well-versed in your state's laws and Court procedures. What they don’t know they can look up. They can ensure you get what you deserve while keeping an eye out to see if your spouse is trying to hide anything. High conflict divorce cases or high value estates may require a forensic accountant. Which your attorney can help you hire
Even if you don't have a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, these three steps can help you protect your assets in a divorce