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Hidden assets during divorce: 1,200 pairs of shoes?

It is not all that uncommon for hidden finances to be discovered when a high-asset Pittsburgh couple divorces. With the frequency in which high-asset celebrities and public figures divorce, many of them may feel they need to hide some assets to ensure they can maintain their lifestyle if a divorce should be in their future. However, doing so can deprive the other spouse from assets they rightfully deserve.

One ex-couple are facing this situation post-divorce, when a man purportedly learned of his former-wife's extensive and valuable shoe collection she kept over the course of their marriage. The collection consists of 1,200 pairs of shoes estimated to be worth $1 million. The man insists his former wife hid the collection from him during their marriage and divorce proceedings, and he is now demanding 35 percent of the collection's worth. Now, he has filed a lawsuit to open up the divorce all over again.

Commonly, assets gained during a marriage are shared property between spouses. When a divorce occurs, these shared assets are typically equitably divided between the parties. If an individual is hiding a large asset, such as a $1 million shoe collection, the negotiations could well be skewed, and a spouse may unfairly receive less. Even when a couple is not considered to be "high asset," these same problems can be encountered.

Sometimes, these hidden assets are revealed in the process of a divorce settlement, but in other cases they may not be discovered at all. Pittsburgh couples can attempt to avoid this situation by being informed on the finances of their spouse, both shared and individual. When this information is out in the open and easily accessed by both spouses, a truly fair settlement can be negotiated and achieved. It remains to be seen if the New York court hearing the dispute over the shoe collection will alter the terms of the divorce judgment, though such action is typically limited to actual proof of fraud.

Source: NJ.com, "A shoe-in for a lawsuit: Wife's 1,200 pair designer heel collection focus of divorce suit," June 25, 2012

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