Protecting Yourself Prior To Divorce Is Your Spouse Hiding Assets

Divorce can be nasty. Even if you think your soon-to-be-ex is trustworthy, if you are considering a divorce, start paying attention to the financial aspects of your marriage immediately.

Marital property - assets acquired during your marriage - is subject to distribution upon divorce. These assets include bank accounts, cash, savings bonds, IRAs, real estate, boats, cars, gun collections, jewelry and paintings. With or without any intention by your husband or wife to hide assets, if a marital property is not included in the divorce proceeding your spouse may make out better than you during the final settlement. If he or she is not playing fair, you should consult expert advice to make sure your rights are protected.

If your spouse has a better handle on the family finances than you, it is easier for him or her to conceal assets during the divorce process. Debts taken on during your marriage can also cause trouble for you. In Maryland, even if you are unaware of a joint debt you may still be held liable for it.

What should you do?

  • Photocopy statements from bank, brokerage and retirement accounts.
  • Scrutinize credit card statements for unusual purchases.
  • Look for newly opened accounts.
  • Check your credit report which is often available for free.
  • Review deferred compensation plans with your attorney.
  • Pay attention to how much your spouse earns; is it less than it used to be?
  • Take note of large gifts or transfers to friends or relatives.

Don't panic!

Unless either of you are of high net worth, sophisticated financial maneuvering is rare. More than likely, your spouse may be stashing some cash in order to pay for his or her own lawyer. If you suspect your future ex-spouse is failing to report income, is hiking up your joint debt or is hiding assets, start following these simple steps and contact an attorney immediately.

Guarding yourself from financial disaster can be confusing and convoluted. If you are facing divorce, contact an experienced divorce lawyer to help you protect your marital property and manage your potential liability.