A well-to-do lawyer marries a younger literature teacher, they raise a son and stay married for 20 years, taking in the good life from their homes in New York and France. Only, the marriage actually ended after just a few months, a secret divorce initiated by the husband to protect his assets.
The plot of a new Lifetime movie?
No. This is the real story of Cristina Carta Villa, who is suing her former husband, Gabriel Villa, to nullify a divorce she claims she never knew about.
If you are thinking about getting a divorce, it is understandable that you are anxious about the effect this could have on your finances, but you don't have to engage in subterfuge to protect your wealth.
Say 'I Do' To Protecting Your Assets Before Marriage
Prenuptial agreements have gotten a bad rap that they do not deserve. They are not about selfishness, lack of trust or a lack of faith in the marriage. A prenuptial agreement is about making sure that you and your spouse, as well as your children or your business, are legally protected.
Taking the time to create a prenuptial agreement before you tie the knot can provide you with peace of mind and certainty. It is about trusting your spouse and having open communication about your financial assets, your estate and your future.
If You Are Considering Divorce, Don't Go To Extremes To Protect Your Assets
You have worked hard for everything you have acquired in life.
Maybe you started out with a paper route or lemonade stand, using the proceeds to start a savings account that later led to the purchase of your first stock or mutual fund.
Or you built your own business from the ground up and now, thanks to your impeccable vision and sweat equity, your enterprise is profitable.
In your professional life, everything is going according to your careful plan. But your marriage is not. And you are worried that getting a divorce will put everything you have worked so hard for at risk.
It doesn't have to be this way.
A divorce attorney can help you protect your individual assets and make sure that you receive your fair share of marital property. Going to extremes such as hiding assets, emptying bank accounts and hiding money with loved ones will not only fail to help you in your divorce, but it is likely to poison your image with the court and hurt your case. And, as Gabriel Villa is in the process of finding out, secrets have a nasty way of finding the light of day.