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Florida man unlawfully transfers assets during divorce

Many people may not realize it, but tinkering around with assets during a divorce proceeding has negative consequences and dire implications for the party that knowingly does so. Florida residents may find it interesting to learn that a Florida lawyer has been suspended by the Florida Supreme Court after it was proved to the Supreme Court's satisfaction that the attorney behaved in a manner that it deemed dishonest, fraudulent and deceitful in a divorce case against his wife to whom he was married for seven years.

The 82-year-old lawyer -- who practiced law in the state of Florida for nearly 53 years -- was found culpable of multiple violations in the years between 2005 and 2012. The multiple infractions happened in connection with the gradual disintegration of his marriage during that same time period. Specifically, according to allegations made by the Florida Bar Association, a majority of the infractions were purposefully orchestrated by the lawyer to prevent his wife from exercising any control over their joint assets.

Back in the early 1990s, the then-unmarried couple decided to create a joint trust that had a multitude of marital assets that included -- among other things -- land and an office building that had belonged to the woman since 1986.

When their marriage started to fall apart, unbeknownst to his wife, the lawyer started to transfer assets that were included in their joint trust to one solely under his control. The assets that he transferred ownership over included the office building and the land that belonged to his wife prior to their marriage, as well as cash and other assets in the joint trust. Additionally, he transferred cash and other jointly held assets. The 82-year-old man's actions resulted in the suspension of his Florida license to practice law. Divorce is hard on all parties but improper actions can make the matter worse.

Source: Tampa Bay Times, "Supreme Court suspends Spring Hill lawyer for three months," Logan Neill, August 4, 2014

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