Lots of families have safes in their homes.

They keep all sorts of things in them, like: guns, jewelry, birth certificates and other documents, and, most importantly, cash.

This makes sense. You don’t want a bunch of cash floating around your house where anyone can take it.

And cash is great. My family and I are Dave Ramsey people, so we use cash all the time.

There is a problem with cash and safes when you’re getting divorced, though: the cash tends to go missing from the safe.

Poof. Gone. Never to be seen again.

In fact, in almost every divorce we have ever done that involved a safe and cash in the safe, the money has gone missing.

And once cash goes missing, it’s almost impossible to get it back.

So, what should you do if you’re getting divorced and there are cash and other valuables in the safe?

Here is what’s worked well for our clients:

  1. Before you tell your spouse you’re getting divorced, take an inventory of the safe and take pictures of everything.

This is so important. Without an inventory and photos of everything, your spouse can take everything and say, “I don’t know what you’re talking about. There wasn’t anything in there.”

Document every item in the safe, and take pictures of every item. Record the date you took the inventory and pictures.

  1. Remove the items from the safe and put them somewhere else.

Even if you inventory and photo everything, your soon-to-be ex could still take all the cash. You would have to go through the court process to get it back, which is expensive.

Better to ensure nothing can be taken. You could put everything in a safety deposit box. That’s probably the most secure thing you could do. If you don’t want to do that, give the items to a friend or family member you absolutely trust to keep everything.

  1. Tell your spouse what you have done, after you have filed for divorce.

You don’t want your spouse to think you stole everything from the safe. That doesn’t help build trust, which you will need as you get ready to negotiate your divorce.

Let him or her know what you’ve done with the items in the safe, but do it after you’ve filed for divorce. If you wait until after filing, our experience has been that it’s much less likely your spouse will try to find and steal the cash.

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