Fabio & Merrill

Do you need to worry about hidden assets in your Texas divorce?

You and your spouse at one time were willing to pledge the rest of your lives to one another. Over time, however, your circumstances changed. That love and trust may end because of the actions of one spouse, or it may have simply degraded and disappeared over time. Whatever the cause for the breakdown of your marriage, you're seriously considering divorce. However, you want to ensure that your divorce is fair, especially when it comes to the process of splitting up your possessions.

Hidden assets are one of the most common reasons for an unfair asset division process. One spouse, or sometimes both, will try to keep certain assets hidden from the courts and each other when going through a divorce. The motivation is usually keeping certain items away from a spouse to ensure the person who hides them receives them or to reduce how much gets split in the divorce. The more assets you have, the higher the risk that your spouse could try to hide something from you during a divorce.

Warning signs of hidden assets

Are you not allowed to access financial records from your spouse's income or spending? The first and most obvious sign of hidden assets is when you notice withdrawals from a bank account. Whether it's one big withdrawal or regular, but still noticeable, withdrawals of smaller amounts, these transactions could be a sign that your spouse is funneling money into a hidden account in case of a divorce.

Another warning sign is selling valuable assets to a family member, coworker or friend. Your spouse may sell these items at a fraction of what they're worth. In reality, the intention is that the person is going to return the item after the divorce, thus depriving you of a fair share of your marital assets. Another common tactic is hiding assets in plain site, by purchasing items your spouse knows you won't ask for in the divorce. Anything from fine art to trading cards can have substantial value. You owe it to yourself and your financial future to make sure all assets are found and properly valued.

Anything purchased during your marriage is community property

As a general rule in Texas divorces, any assets acquired during the marriage should end up split between spouses. The only real exception to that arises when there is a prenuptial agreement on record. Otherwise, the courts will seek to fairly divide everything you earned, acquired and purchased during your marriage.

Carefully reviewing your possessions and financial records in the early stages of a divorce can help you understand what to expect in a divorce. Doing so can also alert you to the potential need for professional help in cases that involve hidden assets.

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