Dirty Divorce Tricks: What to Do When Your Spouse is Selling Assets
Divorce can bring out the worst in people, and some spouses may resort to unethical tactics to manipulate the outcome in their favor. These dirty divorce tricks can include everything from hiding assets to undervaluing property or, in this case, selling assets without proper disclosure or consent (asset dissipation).
If you find yourself in this situation, it’s crucial to understand your options and take the necessary steps to protect your rights. In this article, we will explore asset dissipation, how it impacts you, and provide guidance on what you can do to safeguard your interests.
Florida Marital Property Laws
Florida follows the principle of equitable distribution, meaning marital assets are divided fairly, though not equally, between spouses. This division is based on various factors, like the length of the marriage, each spouse’s financial contributions, and the economic circumstances of each party.
Under this law, asset dissipation, or the intentional reduction in the value of marital assets by one spouse before divorce, is prohibited. So if your spouse is selling assets, it can impact the distribution process and ultimately result in legal consequences.
Identifying Signs of Asset Dissipation
It’s not always easy to spot if your soon-to-be ex is squirreling away marital resources, but certain red flags could tip you off.
Some of the most common signs of asset dissipation include:
- Sudden changes in financial habits or unusual expenses don’t quite align with their regular lifestyle or income
- Transferring assets to family or friends, excessive gifting, or overpaying tax liabilities
- Delaying the bonuses or raises at work until the divorce proceedings are over
- Closing banking or investment accounts or transferring assets offshore
- Unexplained debt, including new loans or lines of credit
If at least one of these things is true, your spouse may be engaging in asset dissipation. When this happens, it may be time to call in a divorce lawyer for help.
A divorce attorney can assist you with asset tracing, including tracking down assets that have been transferred out of sight and holding your spouse accountable in court.
Legal Consequences of Selling Assets Before Divorce
While you might think there’s no harm in quietly offloading some property prior to a split, the courts certainly won’t see it that way. In fact, using asset-hiding techniques, such as selling assets before a divorce, can lead to serious legal consequences.
Florida divorce laws are designed to ensure fair and equitable distribution of marital assets, and any deliberate attempt to diminish those assets is considered fraudulent and against standing court orders. . If you’re caught, you could face penalties ranging from fines to jail time. Courts may also award a larger proportion of remaining assets to your spouse as compensation for your deceptive actions.
Proving Asset Dissipation Before Divorce
Proving fraudulent transactions can be complex but not impossible when it comes to uncovering concealed or transferred assets during divorce proceedings.
To prove asset dissipation before divorce, consider the following methods:
- Gather Concrete Evidence: Collect financial records, bank statements, property appraisals, and other relevant documents.
Analyze Evidence: Collaborate with your attorney to analyze the gathered evidence, identifying patterns or suspicious transactions.
- Work with a Family Law Attorney: Seek guidance from a knowledgeable family law attorney who can provide expert advice. Your attorney will help you develop a comprehensive argument supported by evidence and expert opinions and present the case to the court, advocating for a fair distribution of assets.
Remember that the burden of proof lies with the spouse making a claim, so thorough documentation and diligent gathering of evidence are crucial when making your case in court.
What is the Statute of Limitations for Claiming Asset Dissipation?
In Florida, the statute of limitations for claiming asset dissipation in the context of divorce is two years. This means that a spouse has a period of four years from the date of discovery or the date when the dissipation should have been reasonably discovered to file a claim.
Consulting With a Florida Divorce Lawyer
If you’re starting to notice suspicious financial activity from your soon-to-be ex-spouse, it’s time to consult with a legal professional.
Asset protection should be at the forefront of your considerations during pre-divorce planning. While it may seem like an extreme step, safeguarding your assets is crucial in ensuring a fair and equitable split during divorce proceedings.
At Vollrath Law, our divorce lawyers can help you navigate complex financial matters like marital accounts, property ownership, and investments. They can guide you on legally protecting your assets without infringing any laws or court regulations.
Legal advice is also beneficial when determining the value of marital assets and how they should be divided fairly among both parties.
Remember, taking action early can put you in a better position when negotiating the divorce settlement terms and give you peace of mind knowing that your interests are protected. Don’t get taken for a ride in your divorce settlement. Contact us today to discuss your case.