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  • Writer's pictureSummers Family Law

Untying the Knots: The Perils of Transferring Assets Before and During Divorce

Updated: Dec 15, 2023

Divorce can be an emotionally taxing and tumultuous journey, with financial matters often at the forefront of concern. In a bid to safeguard assets, some people contemplate transferring money and properties to third-parties before and/or during the divorce process. While the allure of preserving wealth may seem enticing, it is crucial to recognize the potential risks involved in such actions. As a family law attorney, I aim to shed light on the dangers lurking beneath the surface when attempting to shield assets in divorce.

1. Breach of Marital Property Laws: Marital property laws dictate that assets acquired during the course of a marriage are subject to equitable distribution. Intentionally transferring assets to a third-party may be viewed as an attempt to conceal them from the divorce proceedings, thus violating the principles of fairness and transparency.

2. Loss of Control: Transferring assets to a third-party means relinquishing control over them. You may find yourself at the mercy of the recipient, who is under no legal obligation to return or manage the assets in your best interest. This loss of control could lead to unintended financial repercussions in the long run.

3. Court Scrutiny and Penalties: Family courts are well-versed in recognizing attempts to manipulate the divorce process. If your transfers come under suspicion, the court may order a thorough investigation. In cases of found misconduct, the penalties can be severe, ranging from fines to unfavorable property settlements.

4. Credibility and Custody Concerns: Your credibility may be called into question if your spouse discovers the asset transfers. Such revelations can damage your standing in the eyes of the court, potentially impacting child custody arrangements and other crucial aspects of your divorce case.

5. Legal Costs and Delays: Defending yourself against allegations of asset transfer can lead to protracted legal battles, further exacerbating the stress and financial burden of divorce. Ultimately, you may end up spending more on legal fees than you sought to preserve through transfers.

6. Unequal Bargaining Power: Attempting to hide assets can create an imbalance in bargaining power during settlement negotiations. This imbalance can lead to less favorable outcomes in the division of assets and financial support.

7. Unintended Consequences: Transferring assets to third-parties without proper planning may have unintended consequences, such as tax liabilities, asset depreciation, or even civil litigation if the transfers are deemed fraudulent.

In conclusion, while the temptation to protect assets during a divorce is understandable, transferring money and assets to third-parties is a risky and potentially damaging strategy. Instead, it is crucial to work with a skilled family law attorney who can navigate the complexities of divorce law and devise legitimate ways to safeguard your interests while maintaining integrity within the legal framework.

Disclaimer: The content provided in this blog is for informational and educational purposes only. It should not be construed as legal advice and readers should not act upon any information provided without seeking professional legal counsel. The author does not guarantee the completeness or accuracy of the information provided. This blog is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship between the author and the reader.

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