Family Law and Divorce Attorneys
Serving Maryland and Washington DC

Call for a Confidential Case Evaluation

Happy Family on Beach

What Can I Do if My Spouse is Hiding Assets?

What Can I Do if My Spouse is Hiding Assets

Are you filing for divorce in Maryland? If so, you likely understand that the process can be long and often emotional.

While divorces are already challenging, situations like one spouse hiding assets make them even more complex. However, do you know what options you have if you believe your spouse is hiding assets?

This is one situation when the help of an experienced divorce lawyer near me can be invaluable. At Brodsky Renehan Pearlstein & Bouquet, we understand how to handle cases of potentially hidden assets. We help clients secure a fair outcome for their divorce.

Learn more about handling situations where your spouse is hiding assets to prevent dividing them in your divorce here.

What Is Asset Division in Maryland?

Asset division is critical to any divorce proceeding and can significantly impact each spouse’s financial future. In Maryland,refers to the legal process of dividing marital property between spouses when they decide to part ways.

Understanding Marital Property

In Maryland, marital property includes all assets acquired during the marriage, no matter whose name is on the title. This encompasses real estate, vehicles, retirement accounts, businesses, and debts. It’s crucial to distinguish marital property from “non-marital property,” which includes assets acquired before the marriage or through inheritance or gifts explicitly given to one spouse.

The Equitable Distribution Model

Maryland follows the “equitable distribution” model for asset division. Contrary to popular belief, equitable does not mean equal. Instead, the court aims to divide assets in a just and fair manner, considering various factors such as the length of the marriage, each spouse’s financial contribution, and the needs of each party.

Importance of Legal Guidance

Given the complexities of asset division, consulting a divorce lawyer familiar with Maryland law can be invaluable. They can help ensure that all assets are accounted for and divided fairly, giving you peace of mind during stressful times.

How Can Assets Be Hidden?

Assets can be hidden in a variety of ways, such as:

Transferring Money to a Secret Account

This tactic involves moving funds from a joint or marital account to an undisclosed or secret account. Often, the spouse will open a new account under his/her name, sometimes even using a different address or contact information to conceal its existence.

This method is one of the more straightforward ways to hide assets. It simply removes money from accounts subject to asset division during divorce proceedings.

Making Large Purchases That Are Easily Overlooked or Undervalued

In this scenario, a spouse may invest in items that are not immediately noticeable or are typically undervalued. For instance, he/she may  buy expensive art, antiques, or rare collectibles.

These items may easily be stored away or dismissed as less valuable than they are. Later, the spouse may sell these items post-divorce for market value. This allows that spouse to keep more than his/her fair share of the assets.

Temporarily Transferring Assets to Family or Friends

Here, a spouse may temporarily transfer assets like money, property, or valuable items to a trusted family member or friend. The idea is that the asset will be returned once the divorce is finalized.

This method may be more difficult to trace, especially if no formal agreements or paperwork are involved. However, if discovered, such transfers may lead to severe legal consequences.

Creating False Debts

This involves a spouse colluding with a business partner or a friend to create a fictitious debt. The offending spouse may claim he/she owes significant sums, reducing available assets during the divorce. The “debt” is then dissolved or paid back after the divorce, enabling the spouse to keep more than his/her equitable share.

Undervaluing or Hiding Ownership in Business Ventures

A spouse with ownership stakes in businesses or entrepreneurial ventures may try to undervalue his/her share or hide his/her involvement altogether. This may involve manipulating financial records or creating shell companies to siphon off assets discreetly.

This tactic is particularly sophisticated and often requires the expertise of forensic accountants to uncover. It is also something an experienced divorce lawyer near me can help you with.

Legal Consequences for Hiding Assets in Maryland

In Maryland, deliberately hiding assets may have serious consequences, and may be considered fraudulent activity. If discovered, the court may in essence penalize the offending spouse in several ways:

  • Award the innocent spouse a larger portion of the marital assets.
  • Require the offending spouse to pay the innocent spouse’s legal fees.
  • In severe cases, criminal charges such as fraud or contempt of court may be applied.

Steps to Take If You Suspect Your Spouse Is Hiding Assets

If you suspect your spouse is hiding assets, it is important to take the right steps. These include:

Consult a Divorce Lawyer Near Me

If you suspect your spouse is hiding assets, you should Google a “divorce lawyer near me.” Maryland law is specific, and you need an attorney who understands the nuances of divorce and asset division in the state.

Gather Evidence

Document everything. Keep a record of bank statements, property deeds, business ownership papers, and anything else showing evidence of hidden assets. Your divorce lawyer will use this information to build your case.

Use Discovery Methods

To uncover hidden assets, your attorney may use legal discovery methods, such as interrogatories (written questions requiring written answers), depositions, and subpoenas for financial records.

Hire Experts

Sometimes, you may need a forensic accountant or experts to trace assets and investigate financial records. This will provide the court with concrete evidence, making it difficult for your spouse to continue hiding assets.

What To Do If Your Spouse Is Found Guilty of Hiding Assets

If it is proven that your spouse is hiding assets, the court will take appropriate steps to rectify the situation. You may be awarded a larger share of the marital assets, and, in some cases, your spouse may be required to pay your legal fees.

How a Divorce Lawyer Near Me Can Help with Cases of Hidden Assets

Don’t wait to act if you’re concerned about asset division and suspect your spouse may be hiding assets. Consult a divorce lawyer near you who is familiar with Maryland laws to guide you through this complex process.

Remember, hiding assets is not just unethical; in Maryland, it’s also illegal and carries serious consequences. So, ensure you’re prepared, vigilant, and proactive in securing your financial future.

Contact us today to schedule a confidential family law case evaluation.


Speak with a family law attorney

Need legal assistance? We provide unique solutions for complex legal issues relating to matters of family law. Click the button below or call our office at 301-869-1700 to schedule a confidential case evaluation.

Recent Blogs

Read Recent Blogs