The division of property during a divorce is one of the most tiring parts of the entire process. It doesn’t help if your spouse is uncooperative, or worse, hiding their assets.
Spouses can hide their assets for a variety of reasons. One common reason occurs in states with equitable property laws, where the division of property in a divorce may not split evenly between the two parties. Instead, one spouse may receive a higher percentage of assets based on their financial status and contributions during the marriage.
Maryland is an equitable property state. Your spouse may try to hide assets to ensure they can hold onto it in case they fear the equitable division will not be in their favor.
Regardless of the reason, your spouse must present all their assets during a divorce. Here are some ways you may be able to tell if your spouse is hiding assets:
- Through a business – If your spouse owns a business, they can use the company to shield their assets, such as making it seem like the business is worth less than it is.
- Through bank accounts – Secret bank accounts are a common practice among couples going through a divorce. Your partner may have set up a separate account that hosts a bulk of his or her financial wealth. If you notice any unusual withdrawals on your joint bank accounts, you may want to check where the money is going – your spouse could be siphoning off your joint assets.
- Through gifts – Your spouse may give a close friend or family member some assets to hold onto until after the divorce. They may deposit money to a friend’s bank account or give them valuables such as expensive jewelry or artwork for safekeeping. If you notice assets missing from your home in the days leading up to your divorce, or if your partner leaves out any of these items from their listed assets when you know they exist, you may want to question their location.
- Through valuable collectibles or antiques – If your partner develops a sudden interest in artwork, cars, or other incredibly expensive collectibles, you may suspect they are trying to hide their assets. They can play off the value of these items as less than they are, but then sell them for a high price after the divorce, resulting in a large cash payout.
It’s important to remember that your suspicions will only get you so far. You must provide proof that your spouse is hiding assets for the court to reevaluate your property division or for your partner to face any repercussions.
Keep a watchful eye on your financials and assets during the divorce, and if you believe something is amiss, inquire the help of a divorce attorney who has experience in handling these kinds of cases.