A Guide to Uncovering Hidden Assets in Divorce

Piggy bank

Secure Your Fair Share of Marital Wealth

When a couple divorces, they’re tasked with dividing the life they’ve built together. A substantial portion of this division is in asset redistribution.

Texas is a community property state, meaning that assets acquired during a couple’s marriage are to be divided between the parties in a manner that is just and right given the rights and duties of the parties. If one spouse attempts to conceal community property to retain sole ownership, they could face serious penalties.

How Assets May Be Hidden

Spouses can be sneaky in their quest to hide community assets. Once spouse may try to deceive the other spouse by:

  • Claiming to have gifted it to a third party while intending to reclaim the asset after the divorce;
  • Saying that the asset was lost;
  • Creating false debt to minimize their apparent wealth;
  • Claiming to forget that certain assets exist;
  • Undervaluing businesses and property;
  • Misstating vesting schedules;
  • Hiding assets overseas or in shell companies;
  • Etc.

How Assets May Be Discovered

Our attorney can help you evaluate relevant documents to uncover the truth about your spouse’s financial standing. We can search for hidden wealth by:

  • Evaluating paychecks and tax returns;
  • Analyzing your spouse’s a sworn inventory and appraisement that accounts for all assets and debts;
  • Serving formal discovery requests on your spouse requesting other tangible documents through written discovery, and if they fail to produce the documents and information in discovery, ask the judge to make them produce the missing documents;
  • Deposing your spouse to ask him or her under oath questions about the assets and liabilities claimed or that you suspect are amiss;
  • Hiring third party experts to trace and value property;
  • Subpoenaing records from third parties;
  • Scrutinizing the financial records to search for any uncharacteristic discrepancies; and
  • Other case-specific tactics.

The Consequences of Hiding Community Property

If the court finds that one party hid community assets or attempted to defraud their partner by defrauding assets, they could inflict harsh penalties. The court may:

  • Award the hidden assets to the spouse that they were hidden from;
  • Award a disproportionate share of the martial estate to the innocent spouse; and/or
  • Find the hiding spouse in contempt of court and order them to repay the innocent spouse for any attorney fees incurred during this discovery process.

If it comes to light after the divorce decree is signed by the judge that there was a marital asset during the divorce that one spouse was hiding, then absent an order to the contrary, the law is that the court still retains jurisdiction to divide that discovered asset. There is a two-year statute of limitation to rectify any withholding of assets that was discovered after the divorce’s finalization.

Whether you’ve recently discovered substantial assets that your ex previously shielded, or you are suspicious of your soon-to-be-ex’s financial standing, it’s important to seek legal assistance. Our lawyer can help you fight for your fair share of community property.