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Could your spouse be hiding funds during your divorce?

A significant aspect of any divorce case involves negotiating the division of marital wealth. This is a primary focus for many spouses, as the outcome of this process will shape an individual's life for many years following a Maryland divorce. In order to create a negotiation strategy both parties must be fully aware of the range of marital assets. In some cases, however, this is not as simple as it may seem.

Some spouses feel strongly that their husband or wife is not entitled to a full share of marital wealth and will take action to shield certain assets from the property division process. This is a form of fraud and is a serious matter within some divorce cases. It is important to note that financial fraud is not a common occurrence and that most middle-class families in which one or both spouses is a salaried worker will not encounter financial fraud within their divorce. Families that have a higher risk are those in which a business is owned, or where there are significant levels of wealth. The accounting intricacies of those scenarios make it possible for one spouse to hide assets from the other.

For spouses who believe that their partner is being less than honest about the family's financial standing, it may be a good idea to hire a forensic accountant. These professionals are trained to examine financial documents in search for discrepancies or omissions. They can use those skills to determine if assets exist that are not being properly disclosed within a divorce.

Maryland spouses who are concerned about the risk of financial fraud should take action to address the matter. In some divorce cases, simply discussing the decision to bring on a forensic accountant can make a spouse disclose assets that were "accidentally" left out of the mix. In other cases, the accountant may have to dig deep to reveal the full range of marital wealth, but the eventual outcome will be a division of marital property that is fair and balanced, and which gives both spouses the financial stability needed to move forward in separate lives.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Financial Fraud and Divorce", Oct. 2, 2015

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