If you're preparing for divorce, you are among hundreds, if not thousands, of other Maryland spouses who are currently doing the same. No two divorces pan out the same way, however. Some couples never step foot inside a courtroom, opting instead for mediation or collaborative sessions to settle their issues. Others wind up battling over child custody or property division matters in long, drawn-out litigation.
Any number of problems may arise that impede your ability to achieve a swift and amicable divorce settlement. An issue that plagues many divorces is hidden assets. If your spouse's behavior has been suspicious since you filed divorce papers in court and the two of you are frequently fighting over money, you may want to closely observe the situation with objective eyes in case you have a hidden asset problem on your hands.
How to tell
Hiding assets in divorce is illegal. You may know someone who went through this type of experience, perhaps after his or her spouse swore to take revenge or get back at him or her for things that occurred during marriage. That person may be able to share some of the signs that alerted him or her to a problem. The following list includes red flag signals as well:
- Is there money missing? If withdrawals occurred on your jointly owned bank account without your knowledge, it definitely warrants inquiry.
- Regarding cash, if you stumble upon a pile of it in a drawer, notice a strongbox you didn't know existed or notice something else that doesn't seem right, it may be because your spouse is stashing money away to try to keep it away from you while property division proceedings take place.
- Overpaying taxes is another common way to hide assets in divorce. You can check with withholding amount on your spouse's pay stubs if you suspect this is occurring.
- Another income issue having to do with possible hidden assets is a deferred compensation plan. If your spouse's check stub lists higher wages than you are seeing in person, his or employer may be fulfilling a request to hold back monies until a later date, perhaps until you finalize your divorce.
It's understandable that you might feel betrayed and quite angry if you suspect your spouse of hiding assets in divorce. It can be difficult to prove such acts; however, it is often possible, especially if you have strong evidence and seek support from a legal advocate who can help you report the problem to the court.