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Uncovering hidden assets during a divorce

Maryland divorces often result when trust between spouses breaks down. When this occurs, one or both of you may take steps to hide assets from the other in an attempt to protect yourself. In complex divorces, the value of uncovered assets can make a significant difference in the settlement amount. At Steven J. Gaba we often assist high net worth clients identify and protect specific assets.

According to Forbes, it is beneficial to inventory accounts, real estate and other assets as soon as you know the divorce is coming. This can help ensure the resolution is an equitable division of property. There are several ways your spouse can hide assets.

The first is denying an item exists. It could be anything from jewelry to a piece of real estate or art. Another way to avoid detection is claiming that he or she lost the asset, or it no longer exists. In some cases, your spouse may transfer the item to a third party, such as a friend or family member. Establishing a false debt and claiming any allegedly missing funds paid it off is a technique used to hide money.  

When searching for hidden assets, carefully look through previous years’ tax returns. Schedules A through C can help uncover the following:

  • Income sources not disclosed elsewhere, such as property taxes on a hidden property
  • Interest and dividends
  • Profits or business-related assets

Schedules D and E may also help detect previously unknown assets. Schedule D includes gains and losses from bonds, stocks and real estate. Schedule E reports losses or income from a variety of other sources, such as partnerships, rental properties and royalties.

Safe deposit boxes and safes may contain documents that can assist you throughout the divorce proceedings. The sooner you begin the discovery process, the more likely you are to find assets your soon to be ex wishes to hide. Visit our webpage for more information on this topic.

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