Is hiding assets during divorce legal?

Dear Liz,
My cheap rat of a husband “gave away” his stuff to his best friend so that I can’t “get my dirty hands on it” as he put it. Is this legal?
– Angry Wife

Oh, wow…that is…low. Now, to be fair, I have no idea what the circumstances of your situation are, but honest talk here? This sounds like BS to me.

I once had a roommate who refused to her portion of the rent so I kept covering her costs. After about three months I had had enough and asked to either step up and pay her fair share or move the heck out. She chose to move out but was too cheap and lazy to pay for her stuff to be moved out, so her piles of boxes just sat there in my house. When I asked her to do something about it, she said that she had “given” it all to our third roommate.

Long story short, all her stuff “accidentally” “ended up” on the street curb where it was picked up as trash. Ooops! But you’re asking about divorce, not crappy roommates.

I’m going to let my pal Amy tackle this one since divorce law is sort of her thing. Best of luck!

Here is what Amy had to say:

Divorce courts are clogged with selfish behavior like this. Many of our judges are taking up their valuable time rather than protecting children or ordering financial assistance for families.

The answer to your question depends a lot on timing. Upon commencement of a divorce, each party is subject to a court order called a preliminary injunction. At that point, your spouse cannot give away the snowmobile or any other asset to his buddy.

However, if your sneaky spouse has been plotting this divorce for six months before he lets you know, he may well have given away or hidden significant assets. This is where the system gets clogged because a judge will have to decide intention. That is, was your spouse simply generous or was he trying to prevent you from getting your fair share of the asset?

There is no simple answer. That’s why we have judges.

Good luck!
~ Liz