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What asset protection am I allowed if my spouse is served with a forfeiture notice and how do I protect it?

Reading, PA |

My spouse will be pleading to a federal charge of fraud and tax evasion for stealing about $1 million from his employer. He was advised the judicial process will include receiving a forfeiture notice for our 2 houses and cars (as restitution). The houses and cars are deeded and titled in his name only. I was not involved in this crime and had no knowledge about it. What protects my interest in our marital assets during this forfeiture? I am not employed and relied on my spouse for support throughout our marriage.

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Attorney answers 2


You can contest forfeiture in a number of ways, including by arguing that you are an innocent owner. This may be difficult for you because, as you note, the assets are not titled in your name.

An additional difficulty may arise if forfeiture is a specific provision of your husband's plea agreement. In that case, the prosecutor may argue that your husband is not entitled to the benefit of his plea deal if the government is not able to collect on the forfeited assets specified in the agreement.

If you want to protect "2 houses and cars" from from forfeiture, then it's important for you to consult with an experienced attorney immediately; this is not something you should try to handle on your own.

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John's answer is on the nail. You want to consult a family law attorney who has some knowledge of creditor's rights. Although the house is in your spouse's name, you have a marital right in the property unless you signed a prenuptial agreement waiving same.

This response does not constitute the establishment of an attorney-client relationship. It is also not to be taken as firm legal advice as such would be contingent on a full inquiry by the attorney into the complete background of the facts and circumstances surrounding this matter. The response is meant to be a helpful guide to a question in a manner which reflects the limited information provided by the inquirer.

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