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Knoxville Divorce Lawyer > Blog > Alimony > Titling Your Assets in Someone Else’s Name in Order to Avoid Paying Alimony Will Only Make You Look Bad in Front of the Court

Titling Your Assets in Someone Else’s Name in Order to Avoid Paying Alimony Will Only Make You Look Bad in Front of the Court


As the coronavirus pandemic shutdown threatens to drag onward into the summer, hardly anyone has any extra money lying around.  The fact that you still have to pay alimony even as your job is indefinitely on hold, whereas even tax debts and past due student loans cannot take away your economic stimulus check.  You take inventory of what you still own, and it is tempting to do what the one percent do, which is to title their assets in the names of corporations and family members, so that the divorced rich person’s net worth on paper (on which alimony is calculated) is less than the funds to which you actually have access.  This is a jerk move in any tax bracket, though, and the family courts can see through it.  If you and your ex are involved in a dispute about your ability to pay alimony, a Tennessee alimony lawyer can help you.

A Failing Business and a House Stripped of Amenities Are No Substitute for Alimony

Brenda and Wendell Loyd married in 1961 and divorced in 1991.  For much of their marriage, Wendell owned and operated a telephone installation and repair company, while Brenda, who suffered from a chronic illness, worked part time as a bookkeeper.  Regarding division of marital property, the trial court awarded the business to Brenda and the marital home to Wendell, as well as ordering Wendell to pay Brenda $99,000 in installments over 20 years.  Shortly after the divorce, Wendell married his second wife Kitty and opened a new telephone installation company, which belonged 50 percent to Kitty, 17 percent to Wendell, and 33 percent to Aaron Gilbertson, who had been a competitor but whom Wendell took on as a third partner after his divorce from Brenda.  With no telephone installation technicians and with Wendell competing with it, Brenda’s company was worthless; its value was negative a year after her divorce.

Brenda appealed the ruling, and the appeals court awarded the company to Wendell and the marital home to Brenda.  It also awarded Brenda $1,000 per month in permanent alimony.  Before Brenda moved back into it, Wendell removed the appliances, window drapes, and cabinets, meaning that Brenda had to make it livable again at her own expense.  He also paid neither alimony nor the installments awarded by the trial court in its division of property decision.

Brenda filed a motion to hold Wendell in contempt of court for willfully avoiding to pay and for sabotaging the property the court awarded to Brenda, both the business and the house.  The court found that Wendell’s intentional destruction of the business and damaging of the marital home could only be for the purpose of causing Brenda financial hardship, and his titling his property in the names of his wife and business partner just to keep it away from Brenda was unconscionable.  The court held him in contempt, and he was incarcerated for two months in the county workhouse.

Contact an Attorney Today for Help

You might be able to fool the IRS by titling your assets in other people’s names, but you can’t fool the family court.  Contact Knoxville alimony lawyer Patrick L. Looper for a consultation.


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