Transferring or Hiding Assets in a Divorce

Legal Minute with Cooley Shrair

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (Mass Appeal) –  How do you keep your spouse from transferring or hiding assets in a divorce? Attorney Dawn McDonald from the Law Offices of Cooley Shrair in Springfield shared more.

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How do you keep your spouse from transferring or hiding assets in a divorce?
This is a very common question among people who are thinking about or actually getting a divorce. If you are thinking about getting as divorce, the easiest way to keep your spouse from hiding or transferring assets is to file the complaint for divorce.

How does filing the divorce complaint keep a spouse from moving assets?
As soon as a complaint for divorce is filed an automatic restraining order issues on the parties. Once the divorce papers are served, the parties are automatically prohibited from transferring or hiding assets except for ordinary living expenses and to pay their lawyers. If a party wants to use any assets for any other reason, they have to get the written permission of the spouse or an order of a judge.

What about incurring debt? Are the parties allowed to incur debt while the divorce is pending?
The automatic restraining order also prohibits the parties from incurring debts in their spouses name or changing life insurance or health insurance policies and beneficiaries. Basically, the parties’ finances and assets are frozen until the divorce becomes final.

What happens if a party ignores this order and transfers a lot of money out of an account or purchases a house?
Any violation of the automatic order may be punished as a contempt of court so you must be very careful if you find yourself in this situation and you should always consult an attorney if you have any questions.

About Cooley Shrair:
Cooley, Shrair P.C., founded in 1946 by Judge Sidney M. Cooley and Attorney Edward B. Cooley, is a progressive law firm located in Springfield, MA. Cooley Shrair provides unequaled service to its clients. Our unparalleled response time to our clients’ needs is the foundation of our mission statement.

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