How Do I Stop My Spouse From Selling Our Assets Prior to a Divorce

Most spouses do the right thing, working in tandem with their exes and making sure that the proper financial steps are followed during the divorce process. However, some spouses react badly to a divorce, and they may frantically try to sell every possible asset they can get their hands on before the divorce is finalized. These individuals may plan to keep the cash and conceal it somehow, hoping to walk away from the marriage with the maximum amount of wealth possible. What are the negative consequences of this, and how do you prevent it from happening?

Both questions are best left answered by a legal professional. Consult with an experienced divorce attorney in North Carolina to approach this complicated situation with your best foot forward. Not only can one of our attorneys explain these matters in a clear way, but we can also guide you forward and help you achieve a positive legal outcome. As you will see, there are many steps that you can take to address these issues. A spouse who tries to sell off assets prior to the divorce can face serious consequences, and you may emerge in an advantageous position as a result.

Why Do Spouses Sell Assets?

When couples try to sell assets before the divorce is finalized, their goal is simple. They want to walk away from the marriage with as much cash as possible. The assets sold may be considered marital property, which means that in a proper divorce, both spouses would get an equal share. By selling these assets without permission, the spouses are able to take 100% of their monetary value without having to split it with their former partner.

However, this kind of strategy is almost always ill-advised. Not only is it illegal, but the strategy itself also has a high chance of failure. Unless spouses have some way of hiding the resulting cash after selling assets, they will still have to split the money. A “paper trail” is usually created in a financial transaction. For example, someone who sells real estate must go through notaries and realtors, creating considerable paperwork. And of course, the funds are then transferred into their account. All of these records can be discovered by the court during a divorce trial, and the funds will then be divided between both spouses.

For this strategy to work, a spouse would need to be paid in cash. Then, they would need to hide the cash somewhere, like in a safety deposit box. They cannot put the money into their account, since this would create a financial record that can be tracked by the courts. At the end of the day, the strategy is hardly worth the effort, especially when you consider the potential consequences if a spouse is caught.

Consequences of Selling Assets Without a Spouse’s Permission

If you are caught selling assets without your spouse’s permission, the court may determine that these actions are fraudulent. This is especially true if you attempt to conceal the funds after liquidating assets. You may face criminal consequences, but the more likely scenario is more straightforward. A judge will likely penalize you by giving your former spouse a much better deal when the divorce is finalized. You will lose out on marital assets, alimony, child support, and you may be forced to pay your spouse’s legal fees.

How to Stop Your Spouse From Doing This

If you believe that your spouse is selling off assets, you can file a court order against them that prevents any major financial transactions for the duration of the divorce. Certain accounts may be frozen entirely, and spouses may only be able to make purchases on necessities. If a court believes that marital assets are at risk, they may move forward with this court order.

Enlist the Help of a Qualified Attorney

Although most legal experts would strongly discourage a spouse from selling off assets in this manner, some cannot be dissuaded. It is true that in some cases, these spouses could emerge from the divorce having successfully liquidated and concealed significant assets. If caught, these individuals will face serious legal consequences. However, many spouses believe that it is worth the risk.

Reach out to Arnold & Smith, PLLC, and we can help you avoid all of these negative consequences. With the right legal assistance, you can utilize a number of effective strategies to stop the selling of assets, ensuring that you walk away with your fair share of the family fortune. Book your consultation today, and we can develop an action plan together.