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What to Do if Your Spouse is Selling Assets Before Your Divorce Is Final

Husband Selling Assets Before Divorce

Uh oh. Your soon-to-be ex is selling off assets before the divorce is final? Not so fast – that property may still be considered jointly owned. While tensions run high, resist the urge to freak out. Sneaky divorce tactics sting, but keep your cool.

First, discretely document the transactions. Account withdrawals, property transfers, stocks liquidated – track everything with dates and numbers. Evidence first. Second, notify your divorce attorney about potential property hiding ASAP.

Our divorce lawyers handle this more often than you think. We can file motions to freeze assets temporarily. The goal is to uncover hidden value and secure your fair share. You’ve got options.

Marital Assets are Divided Equitably in Florida Divorces

As an “equitable distribution” state, Florida law calls for marital assets – those acquired during the marriage – to be divided fairly between divorcing spouses. It doesn’t always mean a 50/50 split; instead, judges determine distribution on a case-by-case basis depending on factors like respective contributions, needs, and other circumstances. The court ultimately decides what is equitable.

Cash, investments, real estate, businesses, retirement accounts, vehicles, and other property obtained during the marriage are potentially in play for the courts to divide. The key is that a judge must deem the property “marital assets” under state law before the courts can equitably distribute them upon divorce.

Selling Assets Without Consent Can Be Considered Dissipation

In Florida, “dissipation,” as covered under Florida Statute 61.075, happens when one spouse sells, spends damages, lends, or disposes of marital assets without the other spouse’s knowledge or permission. The practice involves reducing the marital assets up for division in the divorce.

Courts don’t take kindly to suspected dissipation or asset hiding in anticipation of divorce. A family court judge may see a spouse’s unilateral sale or transfer of marital property as deliberately attempting to prevent the other spouse from receiving an equitable share. Generally, the burden falls on the accusing spouse to prove dissipation.

When proven, possible consequences handed down by the courts include awarding the harmed spouse more than half the remaining assets or a more significant share of the sold asset’s value.

Steps to Take If You Suspect Dissipation of Marital Assets

If you reasonably believe your husband or wife is liquidating Florida marital assets before the courts finalize your divorce, here are some tips:

  1. Involve your divorce lawyer immediately. Timeliness is critical in dissipation cases.
  2. Consider filing an injunction to bar further sales or transfers by your spouse during the proceedings.
  3. Gather documentation like bank or brokerage statements, titles, transaction records, and listing agreements showing questionable asset sales.
  4. Try to estimate the current total market value of the lost assets and your share of the property already sold by your spouse.

Consequences for the Spouse Selling Marital Assets

Florida judges have wide latitude in deciding penalties after finding a spouse has dissipated marital property. Exact outcomes depend heavily on case specifics.

Judges impose consequences at their discretion, from awarding the victimized spouse a more significant percentage of remaining assets to ordering reimbursement for their share of dissipated asset values.

In extreme instances, a judge can hold a spouse in contempt of court or order prison time. But this practice is rare in divorce cases.

The accused spouse’s bad faith often compels a family court judge to grant the other party better divorce terms.

What Can Family Law Attorneys Do For You?

Here are some fundamental reasons why speaking with Florida family law experts can help if you suspect your spouse is selling, hiding, or disposing of joint marital assets:

  • They listen with empathy and offer sound legal guidance tailored to your case details.
  • Your advocate can file motions to prevent further dissipation or dispose of assets during divorce.
  • They know how to document dissipation and asset hiding effectively for presenting in court.
  • Divorce lawyers understand equitable distribution inside and out to fight for maximum marital property division and fairness.

Don’t let your spouse’s actions minimize the marital estate and prevent you from receiving your entitled equitable distribution share under Florida law. Get proactive and persistent legal advice as soon as possible.

Connect With Our Florida Divorce Lawyers About Asset Division

Dealing with the dissipation of marital assets amidst your Florida divorce can spur feelings of anxiety, anger, and unfairness. Having an experienced family law attorney in your corner is invaluable for understanding options, pursuing your rights, documenting dissipation, and negotiating equitable division.

At Vasquez de Lara Law Group, our Florida divorce attorneys have experience dealing with contentious asset division and suspected dissipation cases. We can guide you through the challenges while advocating for fair property settlement terms.

Every situation is unique. So, contact us as soon as you suspect your spouse is hiding or selling marital assets to protect your property rights during divorce.

Author Bio

Vanessa Vasquez de Lara is the founder and owner of Vasquez de Lara Law Group, a Miami family law firm. With over 20 years of experience in family law, she has zealously represented clients in various legal matters, including divorces, child support, child custody, alimony, and other family law cases.

Vanessa received her Juris Doctor from the University of Miami School of Law in 2002 and is a member of the Florida Bar Association. She has received numerous accolades for her work, including being named to the 2015 Super Lawyers Rising Stars and the 2016-2023 Super Lawyers list.

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