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Stop spouse from stealing property
This article is from Steve Raiser, a NY matrimony and family law lawyer.
If your husband is attempting to transfer property during a divorce, can you stop him from doing so? The answer to that question is yes. During the discovery process, each party is required to reveal all of their assets to ascertain how property should be divided. Those who attempt to transfer property or otherwise obscure its source could face fines or other legal consequences.
Keep Abreast of Your Financial Situation While Married
As a general rule, you should never allow your husband to retain complete control over the family’s finances. Even if he is the one who makes the majority of the money and pays the bills, make sure that you know how much money goes in and out of each joint account that you have.
It is also a good idea to keep tabs on the status of investment accounts and any other property that you think your husband may own. Additionally, it may be a good idea to have your own bank account and credit card to further extend your financial independence in case of a divorce.
Talk to Your Attorney Immediately
Those who believe that their husbands are hiding assets are unlikely to settle their case through mediation or other alternate dispute resolution methods. Therefore, you should hire an attorney who may be able to review any inventory of assets that you have completed or ask that one be conducted. An attorney may also be able to talk with a forensic accountant or another expert who may offer assistance in determining if assets have been illegally transferred to avoid being divided in a divorce.
Forensic Accountants May Find Hints of Hidden Assets
If you believe that your husband may be trying to hide or transfer assets, it may be worthwhile to talk with a forensic accountant. A forensic accountant may go through tax returns, bank statements and other financial records in an effort to find transactions or other clues that may lead to additional money or assets. For instance, a large withdrawal from a joint bank account that coincides with a large deposit into an in-law’s bank account may be part of a plot to transfer assets without your knowledge.
A Judge May Order a Freeze on Transferring Property
In some cases, a judge may order a freeze on transferring any marital property or any assets that are disputed during the case. If a transaction is made for any reason, the court will most likely know about it. Your husband may be ordered to reverse the transfer of money or assets, or it may be possible that his refusal to do so helps you win a greater share of marital property in the final divorce decree.
Transferring property in a divorce is generally an attempt to shield it from being divided in a final settlement. Therefore, it is up to you to speak out if you think assets are being withheld in an effort to reduce the size of the settlement that you may be entitled to under state law.