What Happens If Your Divorce Decree Omits Assets?

If you and your spouse are heading for a divorce, you may worry about your financial future. After all, if you are not eligible for spousal support, you may have to learn how to live on a single source of income. Fortunately, you should receive an equitable share of everything you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse own.

During your divorce, you and your husband or wife have an obligation to disclose all assets to each other and to the court. Unfortunately, though, sometimes all assets do not make their way into the final divorce decree.

Why may a divorce decree omit assets?

A court may leave assets out of a divorce decree for two reasons. First, one spouse may have intentionally misled the court to gain an unfair advantage by hiding assets. More commonly, however, both spouses simply forget about an asset or do not know it exists.

What options do judges have?

Florida’s equitable distribution approach requires carefully dividing all marital assets. Often, spouses give up certain assets in exchange for others. If an asset is missing from the divorce decree, a judge may have to rework the entire order.

Alternatively, depending on the value of the asset and other factors, the judge may issue a supplemental order to address the omitted asset.

How do you avoid a possible legal headache?

Because judges in the Sunshine State do not like uncertainty, they prefer to settle all divorce matters in a single decree. Therefore, to avoid a possible legal headache, you should try to find all marital assets before filing for divorce.

If you suspect your spouse may be hiding assets, you may want to hire a forensic accountant or another financial professional to find them. Ultimately, any work you do to find all assets is likely to benefit you.

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