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Do You Think Your Ex Is Hiding Assets?

Texas is a community property state. This means that any income either party earns during the course of the marriage belongs jointly to both spouses.

Part of divorce is dividing the couple’s community property between them Importantly, the community estate does not have to be divided evenly – rather, courts are instructed to divide the community based on what is “just and right.”

In order to divide the community estate properly, all assets and debts must be disclosed by both parties. Typically, bank accounts, stocks, real estate and property of significant value are reported. The parties are also required to provide paperwork and account statements to the court.

Occasionally, one spouse will attempt to hide assets that he or she does not want the court to divide. While illegal, this practice is not uncommon and can result in an unjust result if not discovered.

How a Spouse May Hide Assets

There are numerous ways someone may try to hide assets, including the following:

  • Buying items that can be undervalued. Someone may buy antiques, coins or stamps and then underreport how much those items are worth.
  • Withdrawing money in cash from bank accounts. If the other spouse has been contemplating divorce for some time, he or she might be tempted to withdraw cash so the money cannot be traced.
  • Underreporting income on tax returns. This tactic can often be used by self-employed individuals to give the appearance of making less money than they actually make.
  • Creating fictional debt. A spouse could pretend to owe friends or family members money. The debt would also be part of the community and subject to division between the spouses.
  • Putting money in an account bearing a child’s name. This is especially effective if the child is not a child of the marriage.
  • Transferring stock to family members or to businesses her or she creates for the purpose of secreting stock.

How an Attorney Can Discover Hidden Assets

An attorney is aware of these tactics and others that are commonly used. If you or your attorney suspects asset hiding but cannot spot what assets are missing, a forensic accounting expert can be retained to thoroughly review documentation and determine if more documents need to be produced. The process can be cumbersome, but if asset hiding can be proven, not only will your share of the community be increased but your ex will also likely be sanctioned by the court.

Contact a Sugar Land, TX Community Property Attorney

If you are going through a divorce, retaining an attorney will ensure that your rights in your community property are protected. To schedule a consultation with a Sugar Land divorce attorney, call the Vendt Law Firm, P.L.L.C. today at (832) 263-6770 or contact us online.

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