Friday, August 29, 2008

Selling the Assets Before the Divorce is Final...
After a couple files for divorce, neither is supposed to "dissipate" the assets, meaning sell them or give them away. Yet, in many divorce cases, the law is ignored and assets are sold without the permission of the other spouse or the court.
It was in the news the other day that actress Hilary Duff's father, who is divorcing her mother, sold about $350,000 in assets and was sentenced to jail by the family court judge. I was surprised to read that the judge actually imposed a sentence and held Mr. Duff accountable for his actions. Most of time, although it is clearly stated in the divorce order that assets are not to be sold, it happens anyway and there is no repercussions.
In my own divorce, my ex sold our car and our boat for substantially less then they were worth and although the family court judge was made aware of his actions, he was not disciplined. I was credited my half based on the actual value of the assets in the final divorce settlement, but many women who have had this happened to them have a hard time proving what the assets are worth.
I cannot even tell you how many women I have coached who have told me about how their husband's have sold martial assets without permission during the divorce. One woman's husband cleared out the joint bank account, sold a very expensive car to his friend for pennies on the dollar and moved other assets out of state. Their divorce case is still ongoing, but to this date he has not be reprimanded by the court.
If you are thinking about getting a divorce, now is the time to protect yourself. Take photos and videos of all valuables. that includes cars, jewelry, furniture, boats and any other tangible assets. Make photo copies of all paper assets, like stocks, bonds, IRA accounts, etc.. It may even be wise to have valuables appraised. It is better to take care of these things now, before the divorce, then to find yourself unable to prove how much an asset is really worth later on.

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