Dividing property, retirement accounts and small businesses are often tough to negotiate through the divorce process. Courts will not usually look at property as belonging to one party, but where you live may be key into obtaining a different outcome and a pre-nuptial agreement may help to maintain some assets. Read on to learn more.
It is vital to disclose all your assets: Business Insider says, “Step one: Identify your assets. Before you can proceed with anything else, you need to know how much money you have and where it is. Next, clarify what’s in your name and what belongs to your spouse, including any mortgages, bank accounts, investments, and other assets.”
This includes not gifting or giving your assets to others for three primary reasons:
- Attempting to conceal assets is subject to a range of penalties including jail sentences
- Successful concealment at the outset may result in the partial or total loss of the asset when later discovered, and you will also be on the hook for legal fees
- If the court suspects concealment, your credibility may be impacted, putting at risk other important issues in the divorce process
Disclosing Offsetting Debts
Be sure to disclose every single debt that is secured by joint assets. This may include having to come clean about loans your spouse may not have known about. If you have $1,000,000 in your retirement account but not told your spouse you have paid $400,000 in marital bills, the court may assess the account at its fill $1,000,000 value. If money has been borrowed from friends or family, be sure to disclose those as well.
Remember the assets of your business. You will need the services of a business valuation expert to make a determination. If money has been borrowed to meet payroll, that information must also be disclosed. Admitting all liabilities means you will keep the maximum assets possible.
If you obtained money before your marriage, you may be able to maintain those assets but you will have to provide evidence they were obtained before you tied the knot. This means you will have to produce account statements or whatever other evidence you may have.
If you want to maintain a certain asset, you will have to negotiate. For example, can a trade be done on home equity being kept versus a share of a retirement account? Here is where an experienced law attorney can ensure you also take into account all the relevant tax requirements.
Remember, the court will most likely not share your viewpoint that you solely acquired an asset once you were married. However, an attorney can assist in getting you the best possible result.
Need a Family Lawyer in Scottsdale?
Our experienced family law attorneys will work with you to obtain the best possible outcome in your case. Proven trial lawyers in family court, you can trust the firm to represent you fully so you can get on with your life. Call today for your initial consultation. Our family lawyers can help with divorce litigation, collaborative divorce, divorce mediation, child custody, legal guardianship, paternity, prenuptial agreements, and more.