Grey Divorce and Hidden Assets You Should Know About
When parties divorce later in life, it’s sometimes referred to as a “grey divorce”. The cause of these divorces can range from infidelity, to health issues that affect one or both spouses’ happiness, to financial insecurity, or simply to the effects of empty-nest syndrome. Whatever the reason, these divorces usually come after a couple has spent a couple of decades or more building a life together.
Why Are Assets Different in a Grey Divorce?
When a couple separates after such a long time, they both may think they know where all of their marital assets are, but that’s not always the case – especially in a marriage which may have been falling apart over a period of time. There are certain things which immediately come to mind that must be divided, such as bank accounts, equity in the house, retirement accounts, etc. However, there are also any number of easily overlooked or hidden assets which should also be located, identified, and addressed in a separation or divorce action.
How are Assets Typically “Hidden” in a Grey Divorce?
One of the benefits of having an experienced attorney who focuses exclusively in family law and divorce actions is that he can help you uncover, identify, and value these hidden assets so that you walk into your future with your share of the “true” marital estate – not just the portion your ex wanted you to know about. Some of the assets we have helped our clients find, value, and divide appropriately are listed here:
- Frequent flyer mileage
- Security deposits (e.g., utilities, car lease)
- Timeshare properties
- Leased vehicles, cell phone, other items
- Stock options
- Memberships (e.g., country club)
- Unused vacation time or sick leave
- Patents, copyrights, and royalties
- Income tax refunds, capital loss carryforwards, and charitable contribution carryforwards
- Special retirement benefits (“golden parachutes”)
- Retirement – life insurance, medical, and survivor benefits
- Hobby or other collections
- Affiliation “rewards” programs (e.g., points or discounts for credit card use)
- Entertainment tickets or season ticket options
- Business vehicle for personal use
- Prepaid rent, leases, and subscriptions
- Burial Plots
- Life insurance cash surrender value
- Tort and worker’s compensation claims
- Hangar lease (for aircraft)
- Hotel or credit card points
- Cash, gold bullion, and precious metals or gems
- Small business retained earnings
- US Savings Bonds and other securities
- “Hidden value” items – rare items of personal property (e.g., antiques), rare pets, collectibles
- Options to purchase property
- Unpaid commissions on deals set to close
- Referral fees (e.g., for personal injury lawyers)
- Security or performance bonds posted
- Prepaid Car insurance or taxes
How Will I Know if My Spouse is Hiding Assets from Me?
These are just a few of the ways that an unscrupulous spouse might attempt to hide their financial means from an unsuspecting spouse. We see this most often in cases where one spouse works and the other stays home to raise the children or in cases where a professional owns (or is a partner in) a business and the spouse has no access to the business records. If you are faced with a “grey” divorce, make sure to protect what matters most for your new future by hiring an experienced family law team to guide you through the process and advocate for what is rightfully yours.
Ben Stevens is a Fellow in the prestigious American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, and he has provided exceptional legal counsel and support to families throughout South Carolina for a quarter of a century, handling all matters of family law, such as child custody, child support, and divorce. He and his team are well-equipped to handle all divorce and family law matters, no matter your circumstances. Contact our office at (864) 598-9172 or SCFamilyLaw@offitkurman.com to schedule an initial consultation.
Contact our office at (864) 598-9172 or SCFamilyLaw@offitkurman.com to schedule an initial consultation.
ABOUT J. BENJAMIN STEVENS
Ben.Stevens@offitkurman.com | 864.598.9172
Aggressive, creative, and compassionate are words Ben Stevens' colleagues freely use to describe him as a divorce and family law attorney. Mr. Stevens is a Fellow in the prestigious American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, the International Academy of Family Lawyers, and is a Board Certified Family Trial Advocate by the National Board of Trial Advocacy. He is one of only two attorneys in South Carolina with those simultaneous distinctions. He has held numerous leadership positions in the AAML, and he currently serves as one of its National Vice Presidents. Mr. Stevens has a statewide practice and regularly appears all across South Carolina. His practice is focused on complex divorce and child custody cases.
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ABOUT OFFIT KURMAN
Offit Kurman, one of the fastest-growing, full-service law firms in the United States, serves dynamic businesses, individuals and families. With 15 offices and nearly 250 lawyers who counsel clients across more than 30 areas of practice, Offit Kurman helps maximize and protect business value and personal wealth by providing innovative and entrepreneurial counsel that focuses on clients’ business objectives, interests and goals. The firm is distinguished by the quality, breadth and global reach of its legal services and a unique operational structure that encourages a culture of collaboration. For more information, visit www.offitkurman.com.
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