Ask A Lawyer: How Do I Eliminate Assets?

Question:

My wife has hired an attorney because she wants a divorce. I also want a divorce.  Currently, she has been deployed to Afghanistan so she cannot file and neither can I due to the Soldiers Sailors act.

My question is concerning assets and property. I see eliminating as much debt as possible. I don’t want to hide anything, just eliminate assets that I owe money on. What is the smart thing to do?

 

Answer:

The Soldiers and Sailors Relief Act can be waived by the military spouse.  The protection is against a petitioner filing suit and then defaulting the member of the military. I have several clients on active duty and proceeding through domestic relations cases.

Eliminating debt depends on your overall case and the marital estate.  There are times when debt can be used to your advantage.  For example in a maintenance/alimony case taking the debts (unsecured) can reduce the potential payors income.  We can then offset the debt with property (client takes $10,000 debt and $10,000 in assets) to equalize the property.  If that marital debt has a $500 month payment obligation, that is $500 less in income that is available for payment of maintenance.

 

Spencer E. Williams is the Team Leader over St Louis, St Charles, Indianapolis and Arnold (Jefferson County, MO) offices of Cordell & Cordell, P.C. where he practices exclusively in the area of domestic relations. Mr. Williams has tried numerous cases dealing with complex custody issues, maintenance, business assets and personal asset division. 

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