Barbara J. Katzenberg, Attorney at Law
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Don't sign that divorce agreement until all assets are reported

Many couples in Massachusetts choose to use mediation as a way to negotiate the terms of their divorces. It is a great option for those who wish to avoid litigation and are willing to talk things out. While there are numerous benefits to mediation, going through this process without legal support could result in one party not receiving his or her full share of marital property in a divorce agreement, especially if one spouse tries to keep assets hidden.

When filing for divorce, both spouses are required to report all marital assets for review and division. This is true even if a case is handled in mediation. If one believes that property has not been included in the asset list or if something just does not seem right, it is okay to take a step back and investigate the situation.

While it is not necessary to utilize legal counsel when going through mediation, uncovering hidden assets would be an excellent reason to seek guidance from an attorney. A lot of people are not sure where to even begin when it comes to finding hidden property. The truth is, there are numerous ways that a spouse can hide assets, such as selling valuables, paying "debts" to friends or family members, making purchases for a new significant other and investing in interest free bonds -- among many others. Any of these things can be tough to find or even prove without the right kind of help.

If hidden assets are an issue, it is still possible to go through the mediation process in order to finalize a divorce agreement, but extra steps will need to be taken in order to ensure all shared property is reported and available for division. If, however, this is an issue that cannot be resolved to the satisfaction of both parties, the case may need to be resolved in court. An experienced attorney can help those facing divorce proceedings in Massachusetts regardless of whether mediation or litigation is used to reach a final settlement.

Source:, "Where to Search for Hidden Assets During Divorce", Candace Bahr, Accessed on Feb. 25, 2017

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