Divorce can get uglier when spouses try to hide assets

Couples who have amassed a great deal of money during their marriage can be understandably nervous about what will happen to all these assets in the event of a divorce. Of course there are people who have a prenuptial agreement in place or enough separate assets that they don’t need to worry as much about the process of dividing significant assets, but it can still be a very stressful situation.

Unfortunately, some spouses make some misguided decisions when they feel financially threatened and try to hide assets in order to shield them from the divorce. This, however, is illegal and can only make matters worse. If you feel like your soon-to-be ex-spouse could be hiding assets, you will need to act quickly and get some help in order to uncover any undisclosed assets.

Too many people make the mistake of thinking they have a complete picture of their marital estate. Unfortunately, many people don’t, especially when they are not the ones paying bills, coordinating investments and monitoring account activities. It can be fairly simple to conceal money from someone who is not involved with the family finances.

For example, spouses may hide money by:

  • Depositing a portion of a paycheck into a secret account
  • Taking out large sums of money and giving it to friends or family members to hold on to
  • Keeping one or multiple sources of income secret
  • Failing to disclose property ownership

If you are not familiar with your family finances, you may have no idea that there is money missing or that an usually high amount of money is being withdrawn prior to the divorce.

But knowledge is power. By enlisting the help of attorneys and/or financial advisers to thoroughly research your financial situation, you can get a clear and comprehensive look at the assets that are eligible for distribution. You can also uncover assets that your spouse may have been hiding from you.

Divorce is difficult enough without the complications of complex asset division; when someone tries to shortchange their spouse out of money they may rightfully deserve, it can get even uglier. Having an attorney by your side to protect yourself and your future can be crucial.

3 things to consider when creating a parenting plan

If you and the other parent of your child are planning to both raise the child but separately, you will need to have a parenting plan in place. These plans can be developed and enforced by the courts or they can be created by you, the parents.

If you favor the latter option, you will likely learn that you have more control over the situation, but you will also need to work a little harder to create a plan that both parents are satisfied with. In order to do this, it can be wise to take a few things into consideration when you are discussing a parenting plan.

  1. The well-being of the child: As noted in this Florida parenting plan form, your top priority needs to be how your child will be affected by the parenting plan that is put in place. This means that you will need to put your wants aside if they clash with what is best for your child. For example, even if you don’t want to split custody 50/50 with the other parent, doing so can be best because it will allow your child to spend ample time with both parents.
  2. Your capabilities as a parent: Understanding your abilities and limitations as a parent can be very difficult, but it is crucial that you explore them. While you may want the responsibility of managing a child’s education and health care, it may not be the best option if you have trouble staying organized. Similarly, if the other parent struggles with disciplining a child, you may be well-suited to set the boundaries in this area.
  3. Logistical details: It is one thing to say what you want, but it is another thing to actually follow through on what you want. For example, you may want to alternate weeks when it comes to custody, but if your job typically has you working late or you have unpredictable hours, you may not be able to reliably pick your child up every day for school when you have custody. Working these details out ahead of time can prevent confusion and frustration later on down the road.

Coming up with a parenting plan can be a challenge, but it is one that can pay off in the long run. By taking these factors into consideration during parenting plan discussions, you and the other parent can pursue a satisfactory resolution.

If you are getting married, consider a prenup

Getting married can be one of the most exciting and joyful experiences in a person’s life. However, it can also be quite stressful and frustrating to plan all the details of a wedding. Considering how overwhelming this can all be, it may be no surprise that some people fail to think about the difficult realities of life after the wedding.

This can prove to be a critical oversight, unfortunately. Many couples get married without thinking about how they can protect themselves should the marriage end and they wind up locked in a complicated and contentious battle. This is why you may want to consider drawing up a prenuptial agreement even if it seems unnecessary, uncomfortable or inconvenient.

Having a prenup can be crucial for people who have significant assets or significantly different assets than their soon-to-be spouse. However, you can also use a prenup to protect each other from certain debts and keep family property. Without a prenup, these debts and assets could be at risk of being divided up in a divorce.

Too many people believe that a prenuptial agreement is a sign the marriage will fail or that one or both people do not want to get married. But it is simply a tool that can help people protect their individual assets and set financial guidelines in the event of a divorce.

It may be easier to think of a prenup like a life jacket. You don’t plan on crashing when you get on a boat but if you do crash, it can be a great relief to have that life jacket.

Understanding what a prenup is and how it can work to protect each spouse can be difficult, but you don’t have to do it alone. You can visit our law firm’s family law website to learn more about how we can help you assess your individual situation regarding the need for a prenup.

Is alimony always granted in Florida divorces?

If you are getting divorced or considering filing for divorce, you likely have some pretty firm assumptions or goals in terms of how you think the process will go. You may think to yourself, “I’ll get custody of the kids, demand child support, walk away with half of our marital estate and be able to survive off spousal support payments.” 

However, in Florida, these issues are quite complicated and it can be very difficult to walk away from a divorce with everything you expect. For example, when it comes to spousal support or alimony, there is no guarantee that it will be ordered in your case.

According to the alimony laws in Florida, the decision of whether to grant it or not will typically be left in the hands of the court, unless spouses can come to an agreement on their own. Alimony will not be awarded simply because someone requested it or feels that they deserve it. In reality, the courts will award spousal support only after considering several factors and asking questions like:

  • Is spousal support necessary?
  • Can the appropriate party afford to pay alimony?
  • How long were you married?
  • What financial resources do you and your spouse have individually?
  • What contributions did you each make to the marriage?
  • What type of alimony may be appropriate?
  • How do your earning capacities match up?

Based on these and several other questions, the courts will make a determination as to whether to award spousal support, how much the payments will be and how long they will last.

Whether you are trying to avoid paying alimony or want to collect it, it can be crucial to have the help of an attorney by your side. In some cases, you can work this issue out on your own without going to court; in other cases, you will need to prepare your case and present it to a judge. In either case, legal representation and guidance can help you avoid costly mistakes and pursue a satisfactory outcome.