Know where to look for hidden assets in divorce


You might have felt that your marriage wasn’t going to last a lifetime for months or even years before you made your final decision. Then again, you might have been able to resolve most of your marital problems in the past, but a particular crisis event, such as your spouse’s extramarital affair, may have prompted you to file for divorce.

No matter what issues led to your decision, you understood that, once you filed papers in a Texas court, it would spark a series of changes in your life and additional decisions that you would have to make. Perhaps your spouse was angry to receive divorce papers and made comments about making sure that he or she walks away with more than you do when your property is divided between you.

Hiding assets in a divorce is illegal

In a perfect world, spouses would always peacefully discuss property division issues, child custody, child support, and any other pertinent topic to execute terms of agreement and amicably settle their divorce. In reality, issues are often complex and things can get messy in court, especially if one of the spouses refuses to cooperate or follow the rules. If you suspect that you’re dealing with a hidden asset problem, the first thing to know is that hiding assets in a divorce are illegal.

Texas is a community property state

Another thing to keep in mind as you consider the best course of action to protect your interests in court is that Texas is one of nine states that operate under community property guidelines in divorce. This means that all marital property and liabilities are typically split 50/50 between spouses. Unfortunately, it also means that some spouses try to gain the upper-hand by hiding assets.

How to gather evidence to prove a hidden asset scheme

It’s one thing to suspect your spouse of hiding assets in a divorce. It’s quite another to be able to prove your allegations. Spouses who try to beat the system often use the same types of tricks, which include asking a friend or relative to hold onto the money until the court issues a final decree. If your spouse gives someone a substantial sum of money, then claims to be paying back a loan or making a loan, it might be a red flag alerting you to a hidden asset problem.

Other common ways of hiding assets include overpaying the IRS on tax returns or overpaying a credit card balance. Also, it’s a good idea to closely monitor your bank statements if you and your spouse have a jointly owned account. If you notice that your spouse is withdrawing money without your knowledge or consent, you may want to inquire about it. Another asset-hiding ploy is to understate the value of an asset, such as an artwork collection or jewelry.

Making sure you get a fair deal in court

A family court judge overseeing your divorce isn’t likely to look favorably on a spouse who is committing illegal acts to try to short his or her former spouse out of a fair settlement. You can bring such matters to the court’s immediate attention; in which case you will need to convince the court that your accusations are true. You have a right to receive a fair settlement, and the court can hold a person in contempt for hiding assets in a divorce.

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