1. Home
  2.  | 
  3. Property Division
  4.  | How do courts handle foreign assets during divorce?

How do courts handle foreign assets during divorce?

On Behalf of | May 23, 2024 | Property Division

Even in the best of cases, divorce is a complex legal process. This process can become even more complicated when it involves the division of assets located in foreign countries. Assets in foreign countries are generally subject to the laws of the land in which they reside. Those who find themselves dealing with this type of complication while going through a divorce are wise to get a basic understanding of how the law will impact their situations.

Where do I start?

One of the first and most important steps is to get a proper accounting of all assets, both foreign and domestic. This can include real estate and bank accounts as well as investments and business interests.

How do I make sure all assets are accounted for during the divorce?

Finding these assets is not always an easy task. Although we hope the other party is forthright and discloses all assets, it is wise to take steps to verify that all assets are accounted for before finalizing the divorce. It can help to examine financial disclosures, tax returns, and bank statements. Look for tell-tale signs of an undisclosed foreign asset such as foreign tax credits, transfers to foreign banks, or transactions involving international entities.

In some cases, a forensic accountant can provide additional assistance. This professional can trace and evaluate complex financial transactions. Their expertise is particularly useful in cases where assets may have been deliberately obscured or transferred to other jurisdictions to evade detection.

How will these assets impact the property division portion of my divorce?

The exact process will vary depending on the details of the case and the state. In Virgina, the courts generally divide assets in an equitable manner. This does not always mean a 50/50 split, but instead that the courts have the ability to divide the assets in a manner they deem fair. This can mean that although they are often unable to control the division of assets held in a foreign country, they may be able to take the fact that those assets exist into consideration when dividing marital assets that are within Virginia.

Locating assets in foreign countries is a multifaceted process that may require the assistance of legal and financial professionals. By employing a strategic approach to the financial discovery process, individuals can uncover and better ensure the court takes all marital assets into account during the divorce process, including those held abroad.