In the divorce process, spending habits can often be placed under a microscope. When assets and finances are being analyzed, valued and divided, it can leave couples questioning one another, which can escalate into more intense discussions and arguments. From questions regarding the thought process in buying name brand, as opposed to generic brand, to the necessity of different forms of grooming and pamper, there are rarely limits placed on scrutinized purchases.
When the price of the purchases is considered to be high, there is more of a likelihood that the purchase will face intense scrutinization, especially if that asset is that of precious metal.
Given its potential worth, some consider purchasing precious metals, such as gold or silver, as an investment. The Huffington Post and the Colorado Springs Gazette highlighted one couple where a husband converted his life savings into gold and threw all of the gold into a trash can, in order to prevent his wife from getting any of the money in their divorce settlement.
Earl Ray Jones, a resident of Colorado Springs, was in the process of a divorce with his wife, April, after 25 years of marriage. He was told to pay his estranged wife $3,000 a month, Earl dumped $500,000 in gold bars and coins in a dumpster behind a motel in Colorado Springs.
He backed up his claim with documentation from a precious metals dealer, after being ordered in a divorce hearing that he pay the monthly stipend. The gold also included the couple’s retirement and investment accounts. The sum approximately equaled to 22 pounds of gold.
Earl disclosed the information five months after he threw away the old. According to family law attorney Phil Dubois, a husband does not have the lawful green light to dispose of his wife’s assets, and she may be legally entitled to claim her share should the missing assets be found.
Earl is currently incarcerated for assault and holding April captive, after a fight in their family home.
Tie up funds
During the divorce process, some look into purchasing various pieces of jewelry, made of precious metals, in order to tie up funds. This can be easily seen through fairly quickly, as family law attorneys are specifically trained to uncover any illicit attempts to ferret away marital property during the discovery process.
In purchasing expensive jewelry or precious metals, the divorcing spouse may be setting themselves up for a fall. However, proving that these purchases are an attempt in concealing funds can be just as difficult of a concept as the opposing party proving that they are not. Without access to account history, bank statements, or receipts as evidence of irregular spending designed to tie up funds, it becomes a much more challenging argument.
Many resources list precious metals as one of the top things you should be checking, alongside checking accounts, savings accounts, stocks, bonds, investment accounts, mutual funds, CDs, life insurance policies, real estate, 401ks, IRAs, pension, trusts, antiques, furs, and art, according to Francine Baras and Nicole B. Feurer’s “37 Things I Wish I’d Known Before My Divorce.”
One of the tasks you may want to do before the divorce process even begins is take stock in your wife’s jewelry collection. Take photos of the collection. An attorney can present a better argument for what pieces of jewelry and precious metals are worth without proof.
Another reason that this may be a beneficial strategy is that you are better capable of preserving a record of the item itself. You need to make sure that no item disappears, distorting the evaluation of her jewelry or precious metals.
The evaluation is important and can be part of the reason that many individuals seek out insurance policies on their precious metals and jewelry. Many jewelers also can make lab reports that give an independent opinion of what the item or items are worth. Make sure to make copies of that report, as well as a sarin report, if Gemological Institute of America (GIA) diamonds are involved.
For individuals looking to protect themselves and their financial futures in the divorce process, it is imperative that you gain a better understanding of the assets that have been accrued during the course of the marriage. For individuals worried about a soon-to-be ex-spouse possibly investing in previous metals or jewelry in an effort to hide financial assets during the divorce process, as long as records are kept indicating spending habits, value of all accounts, value of current collections, and all other pertinent information related to the items.
Dan Pearce is an Online Editor for Lexicon, focusing on subjects related to the legal services of customers, Cordell & Cordell and Cordell Planning Partners. He has written countless pieces on MensDivorce.com, detailing the plight of men and fathers going through the divorce experience, as well as the issues seniors and their families experience throughout the estate planning journey on ElderCareLaw.com. Mr. Pearce has managed websites and helped create content, such as the Men’s Divorce Newsletter and the YouTube series, “Men’s Divorce Countdown.” He also has been a contributor on both the Men’s Divorce Podcast and ElderTalk with TuckerAllen.
Mr. Pearce assisted in fostering a Cordell Planning Partners practice area specific for Veterans, as they deal with the intricacies of their benefits while planning for the future. He also helped create the Cordell Planning Partners Resource Guide and the Cordell Planning Partners Guide to Alternative Residence Options, specific for seniors with questions regarding their needs and living arrangements.