You Don’t Have To Share Your Separate Assets With Your Ex-Spouse, But You Must Disclose Them To The Divorce Court
One of the most common sources of prolonged dispute in divorce cases is the classification and valuation of the couple’s marital and separate property. Marital property, which includes income earned and assets acquired during the marriage, is subject to equitable distribution, meaning that the court decides on a case-by-case basis the fairest way to divide it. Which spouse earned the income or whose name is on the title to the asset is not the deciding factor in how the court divides marital property. Separate property includes property that each spouse earned going into the marriage, as well as money and property acquired during the marriage through inheritance or personal injury claims. The court cannot order you to give any of your separate assets to your ex-spouse in the form of equitable distribution or alimony. It does, however, require you to disclose all your separate assets in order to determine each party’s financial needs, so it can divide the marital property equitably. Concealing your separate assets in a divorce case is fraud, and it can only count against you if your case comes back to court for a post-judgment modification. If your ex-spouse concealed their separate assets during the divorce case, contact a Boca Raton post-judgment modification and enforcement lawyer.
Husband Fails to Mention Disability Benefits in Marital Settlement Agreement
Most divorce cases do not go to trial and instead end with the parties signing a marital settlement agreement (MSA) at the end of mediation. During the mediation process, they must list all their separate assets and liabilities, as well as potential income (such as vested stock options and accrued vacation pay) and potential liabilities (such as pending lawsuits in which they are a defendant). In April 2017, Chad filed for divorce from Sondra, his wife of 19 years. As an asset, he mentioned his military pension, and when the parties signed Sondra was to receive about a third of Chad’s pension income each month.
Nine days after filing the divorce petition, Chad filed for disability benefits with the Veterans’ Administration. By the time the parties signed the MSA, the VA had determined that Chad was 70 percent disabled, and he had begun receiving disability benefits. Therefore, his pension payments were lower. He did not tell this to Sondra or the mediator. When Sondra received her first payment in October 2017, it was much lower than she had expected. She brought the case back to court, alleging fraud on Chad’s part. The court found that it was Chad’s responsibility to disclose his disability income, and it ordered Chad to pay Sondra more money.
Contact an Attorney for Help
A post-judgment modification and enforcement lawyer can help you if you found out after your divorce became final that your ex-spouse had been hiding assets from you. Contact Schwartz | White in Boca Raton, Florida about your case.