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HELP! My former spouse concealed assets during our divorce.
February 11th, 2015

If your spouse had an ownership interest in certain assets and failed to disclose the existence of such assets during the divorce process, you may have several remedies available to you under the Pennsylvania Divorce Code. This, however, depends on the specific facts and circumstances of your case.

One option you may have is to file a petition to open or vacate the divorce decree based upon fraud pursuant to §3332 of the Pennsylvania Divorce Code. Nevertheless, depending on the type of alleged fraud, this option may not be available as there are specific time limitations placed on such filings.  For example, if the fraud was perpetuated by perjury or false testimony, you only have 30 days to file this type of petition. If, on the other hand, the fraud was in the form of fabricating evidence, preventing a witness from testifying or even bribing a judge, you have up to five years to file this type of petition.

If remedies pursuant to Pa.C.S.A. §3332 are not available to you because there was no fraud or you are now outside of the five year statute of limitations, you can still seek relief in the form of a constructive trust pursuant to §3505(d) of the Pennsylvania Divorce Code. It is worth noting that there are no time limits proscribed to actions filed under §3505(d). Pursuant to Pa.C.S.A. §3505(d), if a party fails to disclose an asset, the aggrieved party may petition the court for the creation of a constructive trust at any time.

A constructive trust is an equitable remedy that a court may impose to benefit a party that has been wrongfully deprived or his or her rights. Once the trust is created, assets can be placed into this trust thereby giving the court power to distribute the assets fairly and equitably.

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