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How to legally protect your assets from your ex during divorce

Even in the most amicable of divorces, no spouse wants to see the other receive more than a fair share of marital property or assets that have emotional value. In an effort to protect property and avoid a spouse from accessing every scrap of money, some people decide to take the illegal route of hiding assets.

If you feel tempted to do this, be aware that the consequences of hiding community property can be more severe than your spouse receiving it. Instead, try one of these legal ways to retain assets that are important to you and ensure you get an equitable division.

Gather evidence of separate property

The first thing to do is safeguard your personal property to avoid the court considering it joint. Do this by gathering all documentation and records that show one of the following:

  • You acquired it before the marriage
  • You inherited it
  • Your spouse agreed it is separate in a prenup or postnup

Additionally, you must show that neither you nor your spouse contributed to the property's increase in value during the marriage.

Professionally valuate assets

Having an accurate value of assets can aid you two or the judge in determining what and how much each spouse should receive. It can also disprove accusations that you are trying to devalue property, such as a business you own, to keep more of it or make your income appear lower than it really is. The more transparent the process, the likelier both of you are to get a fair deal with less conflict and fees.

Discuss division possibilities 

Before letting a judge determine where your marital property goes, negotiate with your spouse. See if you can agree on selling certain assets and dividing the profits, such as for real estate and stocks. Compromise by giving up one thing to obtain another that is more important to you. Look at all your options before heading to court. Remember to update all accounts and beneficiary appointments once distribution is legally complete to prevent your spouse from having access to your assets in the future.

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Divorce: a Practical Guide

Divorce: A Practical Guide

Attorney Jusino’s new book on divorce is an easy read and full of valuable information. Learn More