Although spouses are required to truthfully disclose all assets and liabilities during divorce, they sometimes attempt to hide certain assets to prevent them from being divided. It may be necessary to uncover these hidden assets during divorce to ensure that both spouses’ interests are protected.
In Maryland, courts distribute marital property fairly between the spouses upon divorce. Under the equitable distribution statute, any property that belongs to the marriage, including real property owned by the spouses and property that either spouse acquired during the marriage, must be divided. Spouses should not attempt to hide assets as there are legal consequences for non-disclosure.
How Spouses Hide Assets During Divorce
Finding hidden assets during divorce can be difficult without the assistance of a qualified attorney. However, knowing how spouses typically attempt to conceal assets during divorce can help uncover them. Common ways spouses hide assets during divorce include:
- Denying the asset’s existence
- Claiming they lost the asset
- Transferring the asset to another party
- Undervaluing the asset
- Overstating debts and expenses
Finding Hidden Assets
Spouses may be able to find hidden assets if they know where to look. It may be necessary to do some investigating to ensure that both parties are treated equitably during divorce. The following are some things our Baltimore County divorce lawyers might investigate:
- Tax returns: A spouse’s tax return is often the best place to start, particularly Schedules A through E, which contain valuable information regarding itemized deductions, interest and dividends, profit or loss from businesses, capital gains and losses, and supplemental income and loss.
- Bank statements: Bank statements may reveal unusually expensive purchases of art, jewelry, or furniture, which a spouse may attempt to sell after the divorce.
- Loan applications: If a spouse applied for a loan with a bank or mortgage company, their application, which includes a list of their assets and estimated value, will be on file with the courthouse.
- Safe deposit boxes: Spouses sometimes keep cash and other physical assets stored in a safe deposit box.
- Custodial account: Transferring ownership to a child by setting up a custodial account in their name is another way that spouses may conceal assets during divorce.
- Friends and family: A spouse may attempt to hide assets by transferring stocks to friends and family or giving them money for fake products or services, which they will then repay after the divorce.
Consequences for Non-Disclosure
Both spouses are required to sign a financial disclosure, which requires their sworn testimony that they have truthfully disclosed all assets. If a judge learns that a spouse hid assets during divorce, they may impose several penalties, including:
- Criminal charges for contempt of court
- Perjury charges
- Ordering the violating spouse to pay the other spouse’s attorney’s fees
- Granting the other spouse all the hidden assets
Baltimore County Divorce Lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC Help Uncover Hidden Assets During Divorce
If you suspect that your spouse is hiding marital assets, contact a Baltimore County divorce lawyer at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC. Our experienced attorneys can help you uncover hidden assets so that you receive a fair divorce settlement. Located in Hunt Valley and Towson, Maryland, we serve clients throughout Baltimore, Baltimore County, Bel Air, Bentley Springs, Columbia, Freeland, Hereford, Hampton, Westminster, Essex, Monkton, Sparks Glencoe, Parkton, Phoenix, Pikesville, White Hall, Carroll County, Harford County, and Howard County. For a free consultation, please contact us online or call us at 443-589-0150.