How to Protect Assets in Divorce
- Catalogue valuables: Heirlooms, jewelry, and more should be inventoried as thoroughly as possible. Mark down who gave you an item, when they gave it, and why, and store that information with a photograph of it.
- Stay put: Unless you are facing a domestic violence situation, you should remain in your family residence until the divorce finalizes. This can help the court recognize the importance of your property to you as well as increase your chances of winning child custody rights. The absent parent is usually not the winning parent.
- Check property status: If you are going to be the one to keep a family car or piece of real estate, you need to know if there are any liens or loans against them. Get a copy of all pertinent records before the divorce finalizes.
- Copy it all: Speaking of getting copies of lien records, you should also be getting copies of any and all financial records. The last thing you need is for your spouse to withdraw a sizeable sum right before the divorce without you ever realizing it until it is too late.
- Honest business practices: If you and your spouse shared a business together, things can get even more complicated. Do not attempt to hide anything about your business. Oppositely, if they hide anything from you, there are legal steps you can take to legally discover them.
- Going solo: Life doesn’t stand still after divorce, or even during it. Cancel joint credit card accounts that could be an area of concern. When you open up any additional accounts in the future, do so just in your name.
- Will work: Did you prepare a last will and testament? Congratulations for having the foresight! But now you need to go back and adjust it accordingly. Divorcing does not automatically discredit someone from inheriting your assets and property after you pass away. You need to remove them from your will and trusts manually.
Splitting the Home, 401(k) and Other Assets
Property division gets complicated when it comes to large items such as a family home, a retirement fund or even stocks and bonds. One common question that divorcing couples face is "Are there any exceptions?" Say, for example, that a husband owned a home prior to marriage, but the wife made a majority of the mortgage payments because the husband lost his job or moved out of the home. This may be a case in which a court would unevenly split the price of the home. The home may even be granted to the wife in this situation if she was granted custody of the children, and the court deemed that the children should stay living in the home. Individuals may wish to cash out their 401(k) or other accounts so that they cannot be subject to division. Once divorce paperwork is filed, it is illegal to attempt to hide or conceal any assets. At this point, everything is up for division.
These situations can get increasingly more complicated if there are special exceptions to the rule. For example, say you owned a business prior to marriage, but your business' assets grew significantly in value while you were married: Are the increased assets considered marital property or separate property? A knowledgeable Corona divorce attorney can meet with you to explain your rights under state property laws and help you exercise those rights in court or during mediation. By procuring the services of our family law firm, you can trust that we will do our best so that you keep what you are entitled to keep.
Don't get cheated out of your assets. Contact us for experienced counsel