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Ethical/Financial question

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KeepOnMovin posted 6/6/2013 14:20 PM

Ok. I’ve read a few posts about ‘discovery’. I have been up front and above board about everything so far with STBXWW. Completely transparent. I have shared all financial information with my attorney and hers. I honestly cannot remember the last time I lied to her about anything, except for the “Does this outfit make my butt look big?” kind of questions.

Well, I received a bonus in the form of company stock several years ago. It is worth about $12,000. I have not included it in any discussion about separation of assets. I know I shared this with her about 10 years ago when I got it, but I doubt she even remembers.

So, we are about a month from the earliest the divorce can be final, and my attorney has asked me to begin wrapping up the division of assets stuff. I have a bit of a dilemma:

Do I share the information about the stock with her?

It sort of makes me feel dishonest or guilty by not divulging this. I haven’t discussed with my attorney, because I think if I do, he will have no choice but to include it in the settlement.

OTHO, it would go a long ways to help pay for My oldests' first year of college this fall. I can justify it (hiding the marital asset) in my mind because college was supposed to be a joint/marital expense anyway. I know I will pay for pretty much all of my kids secondary educations based on our salary disparity, and her spending habits.

I seriously doubt she would ever know. The consequences of ‘getting caught’ would be what? That she no longer trusts me? She doesn’t anyway. Each turn she accuses me of something ridiculous. She projects her character onto me.

If I ‘got caught’ does it open a can of worms that will drag this out? There is nothing else I have hidden.

Also, I found her engagement ring stuffed in a drawer of the vanity I built for her soon after we got married. I think I paid $2500 for the ring in 1992. I’m not sure if she left it on purpose, or if she thinks she lost it. I haven’t said anything about it, and she hasn’t asked. I’m convinced if she does bring it up, I will tell her I found it. I’m sure she would sell it/hock it without thinking twice. I’m not sure I could sell it at this point, and I definitely wouldn’t give it to the next Mrs. KOM or any of my kids. WWYD?

ETA: for clarity grammar and spelling

[This message edited by KeepOnMovin at 2:25 PM, June 6th (Thursday)]

Nature_Girl posted 6/6/2013 14:22 PM

Honesty is the best policy. Give her the ring. Declare the stock.

No secrets.

nightowl1975 posted 6/6/2013 14:29 PM

I imagine its illegal to hide assets during a divorce where the discovery process is underway. That alone makes it a really bad idea. I wouldn't want to face a judge if she did remember and ask you why it's not disclosed during the discovery process. At best, the judge would probably think you're just as much of a liar as she is.

From a personal standpoint, what's your integrity worth? You know it's a marital asset. Deliberately hiding it, no matter what your "good intentions" might be, speaks to your character. Is this congruent with your character? Only you can decide.

gonnabe2016 posted 6/6/2013 14:31 PM

Disclose that financial information to your L ASAP!!!! There can be some serious consequences for NOT disclosing the financial stuff.

KeepOnMovin posted 6/6/2013 14:42 PM


My integrity IS worth more than half of $12,000.

Disclosing it was my plan anyway, but I had received some well intentioned, albiet probably bad advice from an IRL friend to put in a 529 plan for college.

I knew the 'right' answer before i submitted the post.


Amazonia posted 6/6/2013 14:51 PM

When you tell your attorney, tell him/her that you'd ideally like to transfer the value to 529 accounts for the kids, if possible, and have it excluded from the settlement. Never hurts to ask.

ButterflyGirl posted 6/6/2013 14:57 PM

I'd like to know if anyone is aware of the penalties for this, cause STBX has already tried hiding stuff. I guess my lawyer and I are trying to prevent him from breaking the discovery rules, but what if he does it anyway?

Oh, and I would disclose that you have the ring, but I wouldn't just give it to her.. It's another asset that should be included in negotiations for who gets what..

Nature_Girl posted 6/6/2013 15:02 PM

Wedding rings are normally NOT included in asset findings/distribution. They are the presumed property of the [former] wearer. Give her the ring, don't play games with it.

BG, I don't know about the penalties 'cuz my Teflon STBX has managed to escape all trouble & penalties for the extreme evasion & refusal to cooperate he's demonstrated during this divorce. We are at the final phase in which we are dividing up our assets to prepare for the QDRO and he STILL has not fully disclosed all his assets. In fact, during our trial I sat there on the witness stand and had a few remarks to make to his atty wondering why I knew about his assets but STBX had not told his atty about his assets.

ButterflyGirl posted 6/6/2013 15:12 PM

Thanks NG. Didn't know that about wedding rings.. Not sure how reasonable your ex is, KOM, but maybe she doesn't want it and would be willing to put the money from selling it into college funds for your kids as well? I agree it doesn't hurt to ask..

Sorry to t/j here, but I called STBX's work and found out he does have a pension plan, so we requested it, and we got back a note from his lawyer saying that "Mr. FuckTard states no such plan exists." I email him that I talked to his work and he DOES have one, and he emails me back, "You hack into all my stuff and steal things so you can find out about that." Well thanks for the admission you were trying to hide it and that it does exist dumbass. But, drumroll please, he is STILL denying that he has it

roughroadahead posted 6/6/2013 18:06 PM

Glad you're telling your L. Many people try to play those games, and with the apparent exception of Nature_Girl's STBX, it usually ends badly for them.

You could certainly propose depositing the entire amount into a 529. Had you discussed that during your M?

bigpicture3236 posted 6/6/2013 18:25 PM

1)Most likely the attys will approach your company's HR to get a full list of any stocks or options you having coming to you. XH's employer had to provide the documentation.
2)If it is discovered that you hid finances, a court could award the entire thing to your WS.

KeepOnMovin posted 6/7/2013 09:31 AM

STBX and i did discuss using the stock to help pay for college several years ago. i doubt she remembers. It only recently matured so it could be "cashed in". I understand 529's are split evenly between spousees in divorce. So worst case, she cashes it in, and it's no different than giving it to her in the settlement. Best case, she uses it for his school.

And, i'm not playing games with the ring. I just asked for WWYD advice/opinions. If her motive was to leave it as a statement she's done with the marriage, then what do i do with it? It would be emotionally difficult for me to sell. i agree it's hers to do with as she pleases, even though i wouldn't want to hear she traded it in (along with me and the boys) for a new wedding set for herself and OM.

hell, I'm only human, like everyone else here. But, I'm not out to screw anybody, and in some aspects i feel like i've been more than fair with STBX, and i need to look out for myself. Things are going to be very tight in the forseeable future. I hate for my kids to head into the job world in debt up to their eyeballs because their mom walked out and completely fouled up our financial future.

crisp posted 6/7/2013 10:03 AM

While I agree that you should disclose, the timing and sequence of disclosure may be important. "Estate Planning," whether it is in the context of death, LTC Medicaid or divorce is important. It may be that you are allowed to place that stock asset in a financial vehicle targeted for school or another legitimate need. On the other hand, planning for the college financial aid is complicated also. You should look closely at what the asset/income mix is in your situation relative to the FASB (not sure of the acronym) before you make decisions.

Talk to both your lawyer and a financial planner before you tell your wife.

Nature_Girl posted 6/7/2013 10:13 AM

If she doesn't want the ring returned, then why not ask a friend/relative to sell it for you? That way you don't have to deal with the emotional fallout, but you'll still get a little financial bonus.

I hear you about fears for your children's future.

HopeImOverIt posted 6/7/2013 11:18 AM

Yes you should disclose the bonus. You can also propose that the money be given directly to your children. It could be put in trust for them to pay for college. I made such a proposal at settlement and my Ex agreed.

Gr8Lady posted 6/8/2013 00:13 AM

Honesty is always the best policy. As you described your child's college is going to be a joint effort, so it will still benefit your child.
As far as the ring, if you have a daughter, that may be something she would wish to have some day. I even had a divorced friend that gave her prior diamond ring when her son was preparing to become engaged. Her son had the stone reset in a setting of his future wife taste.
My thoughts are to divide marital property as fairly as you can. The high road is always a better journey! Fewer bumps.....LOL

KeepOnMovin posted 6/8/2013 08:51 AM

Thanks all for the opinions. I will suggest the 529 idea, after discussing with my attorney. If she doesn't like it, then at least I tried.

As for the ring, I am just going to ask her straight up whether she wants it back. Then there will never be a doubt in my mind. An IRL friend gave his wedding bands back to his wife after she cheated and left. Said he was trying to make a statement or something. He regrets it, as the statement fell on deaf ears (cause she was in luuuuurrrve). The rings were worth about $4000, and would have made a nice start on a 529 for his grandson. .

The high road is always a better journey! Fewer bumps.

I have taken the high road so far. Got to say it still has plenty of bumps and it is really lonely. Lots if good people with good intentions trying to pull me off. Afraid I will be taken advantage of. But hopefully at the end, i will be less muddy.

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