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Will you need a forensic accountant to find hidden assets?

During a divorce, couples typically clash over two primary issues: child custody and asset division. Even if you and your spouse do not have children, you could find yourself in a protracted divorce battle if you can't see eye to eye about who gets what.

Texas law is clear about asset division. Texas is a community property state. That means that the courts consider all assets acquired during your marriage, as well as all debts, as community property subject to equal division. However, there are exceptions to this principle.

It's possible that your ex has been preparing for the divorce for some time. Those preparations could include intentionally hiding assets with the intention of keeping them. Your spouse could be buying expensive items that don't seem to have value, like collectibles and memorabilia. Your spouse may have transferred title to certain assets unbeknownst to you. It's also possible that a large amount of liquid capital (cash) has gotten intentionally hidden, often collected in a series of much smaller withdrawals from an account over a longer period of time.

A forensic accountant can track down hidden assets

The only way to ensure a fair division of assets is to make an accurate list of them all, including realistic fair market value assessments. This process can be much more complicated if your spouse is attempting to hide assets. After all, if you don't know when your spouse purchased something or how much it cost, how can you reasonably include it in your list of marital property? The greater your overall marital assets, the more likely it is that you could be dealing with hidden assets. A forensic accountant can help review your financial records, including purchases, investments and asset transfers.

Locating hidden assets, including secret investments or even international bank accounts, can be a difficult and complicated process. Thankfully, a forensic accountant can help you determine how marital funds got spent and where assets ended up. That, in turn, can help you make a more accurate and realistic list of assets for the consideration of the court. If you believe your spouse was intentionally squandering assets toward the end of your marriage to avoid sharing them with you, the court could factor that into its decision about who receives which assets during the divorce.

The court will consider a number of factors during the asset division process, including when items got purchased, how easy they are to sell and what, if any, debt resulted from the purchase. You and your former spouse will generally be splitting both assets and debts fairly when your marriage ends. A forensic accountant can help ensure you receive a fair split when your divorce gets finalized.

There are many complex aspects to community property division. If you have questions concerning your situation, speak with an experienced divorce attorney.

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