Most people have heard the phrase “more money, more problems.” That particular aphorism often proves true in contentious divorces. The more assets a couple accumulates over the course of their marriage, the more likely they are to fight over those assets in a divorce.
In fact, couples with significant assets may engage in acrimonious fighting in a divorce. Some people may even go so far as to engage in behaviors they know are illegal in order to limit how much of the marital estate goes to their spouse because Michigan tends to split up assets equitably in a divorce.
If you are from a family with high assets and think a divorce may be in your future, you might want to familiarize yourself with some of the financial issues common in high asset divorces. That way, you can identify potentially problematic behaviors before they impact your financial situation.
Your spouse could give away or sell marital assets to diminish your share
If you and your spouse know that the end is near, you may both find yourself preparing for the likelihood of a divorce in your future. For many people, that process includes looking for a place to live and ensuring financial stability during the transition. Other people may begin frantically attempting to diminish the overall value of the marital estate.
One common tactic is to intentionally undervalue assets and sell them to friends or loved ones. In this situation, a spouse may create an informal arrangement with friends or family members to repurchase those assets later. You will only receive a portion of the money obtained for the sale, thus depriving you of the value of those items.
In some situations, one spouse may intentionally rack up significant amounts of debt on shared credit cards or lines of credit to financially penalize their spouse. They could also spend money from savings on assets their spouse has no need for.
This practice is known as dissipation of marital funds, and the courts frown on it. However, you have to be able to prove dissipation in order to get the courts to take action on your claims of dissipation in the asset division process.
Your spouse could try to hide assets
Some people go even further by choosing to hide assets prior to filing for divorce. They may create secret bank accounts without telling a spouse or start making stealthy cash withdrawals from the bank to build up a cash cushion that no one else knows about. It is also possible to hide financial assets in purchases, such as jewelry and fine art.
If you suspect your spouse has hidden assets, you will likely need to carefully review your financial records. In fact, even if you think your spouse would never do something so underhanded, it may be wise to check anyway. That way, you can help ensure as fair of an outcome as possible in the process of separating your assets.