How to Ensure You’re Not Forced to Hand Over 50% of Your Assets in a Divorce Settlement
A plan to protect assets from divorce could be the most important piece of financial planning for some people. With divorce rates running at more than 50% and divorce settlements in the UK and the US reaching absurd levels it’s worth at least thinking about a plan to protect assets from divorce. Even if you’re happily married now, that can change in a heartbeat.
If you’re a high net worth person the best advice is don’t get married. Marriage is a contract that involves serious financial liabilities. No matter how much you’re in love, it’s never worth sacrificing more than half your assets just to get a piece of paper from the state that says you’re married. You can make other living arrangements that don’t involve a serious financial liability.
Choose The Jurisdiction You’re Going to Live Carefully to protect assets from divorce
If you must marry then consider carefully where you get married and which country you will live in. Anyone with assets should avoid getting married in a jurisdiction like the UK. The UK is known as being very generous to ex-wives. Many foreign women go jurisdiction shopping to get the highest possible settlement in a divorce and choose London. They do this because they are almost guaranteed to get at least 50% of the husband’s assets and the power from the British courts to go around the world seizing assets.
The ex-wife of one Russian oligarch who got a divorce settlement of £450m ($700m) hired mercenaries to seize her ex-husband’s $300m yacht.
In Europe you can choose a jurisdiction like Monaco which isn’t overly favourable to the poorer party.
Some Jurisdictions Make Divorce Very Easy
Divorce in Haiti and The Dominican Republic is extremely flexible too. You can get a divorce in the Dominican Republic simply by placing a notice in the newspaper. You could theoretically get divorced without telling your wife in some jurisdictions.
Divorce in Japan is easy too. There’s no need to go to court. Both parties simply sign and file a one page form.
Get a Pre Nuptial Agreement
Prenuptial Agreements where you set out in advance how any marital assets will be split on divorce are common amongst high net worth people. Unfortunately they’re not absolutely watertight. In some countries like the UK they don’t have to be recognised at all. While pre-nuptial agreements are far from perfect they are one tool to protect assets from divorce.
Make Sure You Own Nothing
The best strategy if you’re facing a divorce can be the most simple. Make sure that you’re poor. Not only poor but poor and in debt. You can plan an offshore structure with this in mind. If you gift all your assets to an overseas foundation you don’t own them anymore. Even if you’re a beneficiary of the foundation, legally you’re not the owner of the assets and they won’t count as marital property.
You can also make sure that you have substantial debt owed to overseas entities. If you have offshore companies with nominees in control, they can sue you in your home jurisdiction to formally establish the debt owed to them. You can go in front of the divorce judge and legitimately claim that you have no assets and are millions in debt. In reality it might never end up in court if you build your structure well in advance. The very fact that you’ve been smart enough to structure your affairs to protect assets from divorce will leave your ex-wife and her lawyers scrambling to make the best settlement they can get with you.
Move Assets Well in Advance of Divorce
The best time to switch assets from your own name to a new legal structure is before the marriage takes place. If you own no assets before you get married there won’t be any matrimonial property to split when you get divorced.
Consider using a trust to protect assets in divorce
If you’re already married you should start transferring assets to your offshore structure years before any divorce. If you suddenly transfer millions of dollars in assets immediately before divorce papers are filed this is likely to be challenged in court.
Best to transfer assets gradually over a period of years and make sure that everything is explainable if it ever needs to be. There should always be good reason to transfer assets. They can be transferred to a charitable foundation or to a trust for the benefit of your children or grand-children. Of course, you will retain control of everything for the rest of your life but you’ll legally own nothing. This is the perfect plat to protect assets from divorce.
Have a look at our Special Report, Bullet Proof Asset Protection. This report outlines the latest strategies in detail to protect your assets from divorce and other hostile adversaries. You can make your assets so secure that no even the most hostile and well funded adversary will ever be able to touch them.
Can an LLC protect assets in a divorce?
It’s possible if it’s structured in the correct way. To protect assets from divorce you must make sure you’re not a shareholder in the LLC. Careful planning and professional advice is required.
How to protect assets during separation?
The same strategies apply to protect your assets during separation as to protect assets from divorce. Th earlier you start to protect assets from divorce the more successful you’re likely to be.
How to protect assets from spouse?
Ideally you should think about how to protect assets from divorce before you marry. That means that you should have bank accounts and assets that your spouse knows nothing about. Make sure there’s no paperwork relating to those secret assets at home.
How do I protect myself financially before divorce?
You must act as early as possible to protect assets from divorce. Ideally you should make plans at least 2 years before you separate. Of course, this is not always possible if you’re not the party initiating the divorce. That’s why it’s always best to hope for the best but plan for the worst before you marry. If you’re already marries start planning now.
How do I divorce my wife and keep everything?
It’s necessary to plan things years in advance. Have secret assets outside the country. Hold hard to trace assets like crypto currency and precious metals. Have offshore bank accounts. Make sure your secret assets are owned by a trust or foundation.
Get in touch with us for help with all asset protection matters. We are global market leaders in asset protection and offshore finance. We help solve difficult problems.
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