Q&A: Can you get a divorce to avoid lawsuit judgment
Divorce to avoid lawsuits: Why it is not a good idea
Can you get a divorce to avoid lawsuit judgments? Yes, but it is not a very good idea. Recently, I was chatting with someone about the Harvey Weinstein Georgina Chapman divorce. It was so quick, quiet and drama free and Georgina has never said a bad word against her husband nor has she done any press about it as far as I know. So the person I was speaking with speculated that maybe they got a divorce to avoid lawsuit judgments given the enormous amount of legal problems Mr Weinstein is undergoing at this time.
I did not want to speculate about the motive for the divorce as being anything so nefarious. Because getting a divorce to avoid lawsuits is tantamount to a fraudulent transfer and this is obviously illegal. Typically, you cannot conspire with your spouse to divorce to avoid lawsuit judgments. If you suspect that a creditor is going to come after you, of course it is natural to want to try to protect your assets. But getting an uncontested divorce where you basically divest most or all of your assets into your spouse’s name during an interval where you have been sued or have been warned that you could be sued is a risky move.
In the Weinstein Chapman divorce, I am not sure if it was contested in any way. I do know it moved fairly quickly (it was over in 3 months) through the process so if they had any disputes, it was not a lot. Miss Georgina Chapman walked away with quite a huge chunk of assets including, I believe, between $15 and $20 million USD in cash and property – according to Page Six. This does not mean it was a fraudulent transfer, just because it was so quick.
To be a fraudulent transfer, the couple must intend to continue to “be together” after the divorce and to basically file a fake uncontested divorce just so that the property can be transferred to the spouse who does not have a problem with creditors – for the sole purpose of avoiding the creditors. There is no indication that the Weinsteins plan to stay together. Though, Mr Weinstein did leave the door open to get back together in the future:
“We discussed the possibility of a separation and I encouraged her to do what was in her heart. In the end, she made the decision to separate,” he said. “I understand, I love her and I love our children and hopefully, when I am better, I will be in their lives again. I support her decision, I am in counselling and perhaps, when I am better, we can rebuild.” Hello Magazine January 2018.
In the final analysis, if you are thinking you should a divorce to avoid lawsuit judgements, you probably should not because your creditors can just turn around and sue your spouse.