Uncovering Hidden Assets in a Divorce
Texas state law requires divorcing spouses to disclose relevant information about all of their assets, which can include financial accounts, retirement assets, property, and more. When you suspect that your spouse is not being honest in disclosing their assets, you will want to contact a high-asset divorce attorney in Southlake, and nearby.
Any assets that a spouse tries to conceal or transfer for the purpose of the other spouse not being able to claim them are known as hidden assets. Reports indicate that three in 10 adults with combined finances hid assets or purchases from their partner, and approximately 7.2 million Americans hid a bank or credit card account from their live-in spouse or partner.
Types of Hidden Assets
Some assets end up being hidden more often during a divorce than others. Some examples of commonly hidden assets include, but are not limited to:
- Cash is perhaps the most common hidden asset because of the difficulty in tracing it.
- Transferring money or property from joint accounts into the possession of friends or relatives.
- Making investments abroad or opening accounts overseas.
- Spouses who are self-employed may falsify their income to force the other spouse to receive less in a divorce settlement. Business owners could also attempt to lower their salary, delay signing business contracts, skim cash from a register, or other tactics.
- Suddenly spending large sums of money on frivolous activities or purchases.
- Spouses may not notify the other spouses of retirement accounts or eligibility to receive funds through an employer.
- Funneling money into a business under the guise of extra payroll or business expenses.
- Spouses who own collectibles or antiques could try to assign a far lower value to such items, knowing the difficulty in determining their actual value.
- Altering or destroying financial records completely.
- Setting up a bank account in a minor child’s name.
- Making payments towards debts that do not actually exist.
When a spouse intentionally hides assets, they could face charges of perjury, fraud, contempt of court, or civil court violations. None of this will happen without uncovering hidden assets first.
Reviewing All Relevant Documentation
There are generally two ways in which parties can force the other spouse to disclose assets. These include:
1. Written Discovery — The discovery process involves one spouse sending the other spouse written requests for tangible documents. The requests may go back to the date of marriage and could include bank statements, paychecks, credit card statements, retirement statements, stocks, bonds, PayPal, Venmo, or Cash App histories, health savings accounts (HSAs), or more. Any type of property or account history can be subject to a request.
2. Local Disclosures — A family court could require both parties to disclose their bank statements, tax returns, paychecks, and a sworn inventory and appraisement by a specified date. The sworn inventory and appraisement will be a notarized or verified document that should contain an accounting of all of a person’s property, including all of their assets and debts, with supporting documents that show current statements. Should a divorce go to trial, the trial judge relies on the parties’ inventories when making a final property division.
During a divorce, both spouses will have to complete financial affidavits and disclose all of their income and assets. Each spouse should look over additional documentation to confirm the information that the other spouse is providing, and spouses can benefit by doing the following:
- Confirming that only known accounts are being used to pay household bills.
- Conducting a public records search to determine whether the other spouse owns any undisclosed real estate.
- Looking for suspicious purchases or transfers made from any shared bank or brokerage accounts.
- Reviewing the other spouse’s tax returns and 1099 forms to discover any unreported income or accounts.
- Comparing monthly expenses to reported income to make sure that no additional income is being used to address household expenses.
Call to Schedule a Consultation with a Southlake High-Asset Divorce Attorney
Did you need help reviewing the assets of your spouse for a divorce in Texas? Make sure you are working with the knowledgable and dedicated team at Mims Ballew Hollingsworth | Family Law. Our firm knows how to handle these cases and can make sure that all hidden assets will be uncovered. You can call us at (817) 900-8330 or contact us online to schedule a consultation so we can review your case and answer all of your legal questions.