Hidden Assets During a Divorce
One of the most critical parts of divorce proceedings is dividing up marital assets. Things can become more complicated when you are concerned that there are hidden assets during a divorce. Finding hidden assets is not easy or straightforward, and an experienced attorney can help with the process.
Why Would Someone Hide Assets?
Particularly during divorces without a pre-nuptial agreement and divorces where there is hostility involved, spouses might try to hide or undervalue their assets. This is to avoid needing to share them with their ex-spouse as a result of the divorce process.
How Are Hidden Assets During a Divorce Uncovered?
During the divorce process, you and your attorney will paint a complete financial picture of the assets of each spouse. These assets could include marital assets (acquired during the marriage) or separate assets (property from before the marriage or after separation). Maryland is an equitable distribution state, which means that marital or shared property will not necessarily be divided 50/50.
What Types of Assets Are Typically Hidden or Undervalued?
While a broad range of things have been discovered as hidden assets during a divorce case, some of the most commonly hid or undervalued ones include:
- Antiques, hobby equipment, artwork and gun collections, which are often undervalued or disguised as less-valuable things
- Unreported income
- Travelers’ checks
- Custodial accounts set up using a child’s Social Security number
- Investments in bearer bonds
- Debt repayment to a friend for debts that did not actually exist
- Expenses that were related to an extramarital boyfriend or girlfriend
- Retirement accounts
If your ex-spouse is a business owner, there could also be business-related hidden assets during a divorce. They could be creating salary payments to non-existent employees, skimming cash from the business or waiting to sign valuable contracts until after divorce. A knowledgeable lawyer is critical in these cases to identify irregularities and inconsistencies.
What Happens Next?
After you do uncover hidden assets during a divorce, the next steps could be different depending on your unique situation. In some cases, serving the other party with discovery is best. This requires them to disclose any and all assets and gives them a chance to come clean about anything. If they fail to disclose the assets still, a number of next steps could be taken, including hiring a forensic accountant, private investigator or submitting IRS document requests.
Uncover Hidden Assets During a Divorce with Lebovitz Law
Whether you are searching for an experienced lawyer to assist with your divorce or another family law issue, Lebovitz Law can help. To learn more about how we can assist you, please contact us today.