How to protect assets in a divorce without hiding them

The division of property in a divorce is normally highly contentious. With so many factors that determine equitable distribution, you may not receive as much as you hope for, nor the things you wanted.

Unfortunately, this leads to many spouses hiding assets before or during divorce. This illegal act can cause you to lose even more, but you may not know what else to do to protect important assets. The good news is you have options that do not entail breaking the law.

Separate personal property

Hopefully, you have kept your personal property separate. Gather financial records and other evidence that show what property your spouse cannot claim. Open your own bank and credit accounts as well.

Sell assets

In some cases, the best way to get your fair share of an asset's value is to sell it. Do not worry about retaining assets you can easily get rid of, such as stocks and non-sentimental belongings. Instead of fighting over who gets the house, you can sell it and split the profit. Remember to account for all fees and taxes in relation to a sale before deciding if this approach would be beneficial.

Sacrifice one asset for another

What if you really want to keep that family heirloom or the house so your kids can stay in the school district? Try negotiation or mediation to determine a fair division. Be willing to give up an asset of equal value that your ex wants to keep the one you want. It is better to make some sacrifices than to spend more money on a drawn-out divorce battle.

Get professional appraisals

Most importantly, have a professional appraise all your assets before you make any decisions regarding their distribution or else you may not end up with an equitable share. You can also seek the assistance of a certified divorce financial planner.

If you are not sure you want to divorce but are worried about your finances if it leads there, then consider creating a postnuptial agreement and update your estate plans.

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