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By the time you reach the point of contemplating or filing for divorce in Maryland, it is clear that you and your spouse are no longer getting along. However, you might be surprised by the lengths some individuals will go to disrupt the divorce process. One of the most devious acts a party can take is hiding assets, since the financial consequences can be extensive and damaging for the other spouse. By concealing real or personal property, your soon-to-be-ex could be causing immeasurable harm that could impact your future financial security.
If you suspect that your spouse is hiding assets, time is of the essence to retain experienced legal counsel. There are strategies to address this wrongdoing, so your first priority should be consulting with a Maryland divorce lawyer. You can also read on to learn how these misdeeds affect your interests.
How Hidden Property Affects Your Rights
Concealing assets is an egregious form of misconduct in divorce because of the implications in two areas:
- Maryland’s divorce statute requires an equitable distribution of marital property, which means a fair split of assets. A court cannot divvy up property fairly when the judge is not aware that some items exist.
- When making a determination on alimony under Maryland law, the court will consider the assets and income of both parties. It is not possible to make an accurate assessment of spousal support unless the judge can review the big picture.
Strategies for Locating Concealed Assets
The most effective way to identify property and bring it to the attention of the court is through use of discovery tools. Your lawyer may employ written interrogatories and requests to produce documents, through which you can access tax returns, deeds, bank account information, and other details. Plus, you can also conduct a deposition, during which your attorney can ask questions about assets.
A deposition and some written discovery must be sworn to under oath, which means there are considerable penalties for providing false or misleading information.
What to do About Hidden Assets
Your lawyer can handle discovery and other legal tasks, but there are a few things you can do if you suspect foul play in the divorce process.
- Make an itemized list of all real estate and personal property of which you are aware.
- Collect ownership information for assets, including deeds, titles, bank statements, and others.
- Gather all details regarding taxes that you have filed jointly.
- Avoid engaging in misconduct through your own efforts, such as opening mail not addressed to you, falsifying documents, or faking your identity to access assets.
Get in Touch with a Baltimore County, MD Divorce Attorney Right Away
It should come as a relief to know that you have options if your spouse is concealing assets in the divorce process, but your rights are still at risk if you do not have skilled legal counsel on your side. For more information on potential strategies to address misconduct in Maryland divorce, please contact attorney William F. Mulroney to set up a consultation.