For couples considering divorce, the way they split up their assets is often going to be a major source of contention. It’s quite possible that the spouses will not agree on what is fair when it comes to the property acquired during the marriage.
Texas judges do their best to ensure that a division is fair, but they rely on information presented to the court. If one spouse has hidden community assets, it can skew the outcome in that spouse’s favor. That is, unless the second spouse can show that the assets were indeed community assets and that the first spouse hid them or transferred title to the assets to another party without the second spouse’s knowledge.
Hiding assets is an unfortunately common practice in divorce
When person gets divorced, he or she may want to punish the other spouse for the failure of the marriage or for perceived wrongs. Trying to secure as much of the community property as possible is one way that people lash out in divorce.
If you think there is any potential chance that your spouse ex could hide substantial value from you or the courts, you need to look for hidden assets.
Financial records can help you look for secret accounts and possessions
One of the first pieces of advice that people get after deciding to divorce is to get copies of all pertinent financial records as soon as possible. For example, if you share a checking account with your spouse, you may assume that the full amount of his or her income goes right into that account every pay day. In reality, some portion of that money could wind up deposited elsewhere.
Some people plan ahead several years prior to divorce to accumulate hidden assets. If you can’t make sense of your financial records, a forensic accountant could help. He or she can reviews all income and transaction records looking for recurring cash withdrawals or other signs that your spouse hid assets or income.
Hidden assets are not always bank accounts or cash
One common but surprising way that people hide assets is in valuable physical possessions. You may be so focused on looking for a hidden bank account or a stockpile of cash that you completely overlooked other valuable considerations.
Collections, particularly those that include fine art, jewelry, or other valuable collectibles, could be worth tens of thousands of dollars. While you may not have a personal interest in the objects contained in that collection, you likely have an interest in their overall value. The smaller and more portable the object, the easier it can be for one spouse to take it.
Make sure that you know what items your spouse bought during your marriage. Even if you have no desire to obtain them, including their value can help ensure that the asset division process is as fair as possible.
A divorce lawyer experienced in the identification of hidden assets can protect your rights and help ensure that you get your rightful share of your community assets.