Although divorce has become more common in the last few decades, it has not become less contentious in many cases. Spouses may still battle tooth and nail over assets and child custody. Sometimes, the desire to win in a divorce can lead one or both spouses to do unethical or even illegal things prior to and during the divorce.
Hiding assets is a perfect example. Unfortunately, the more assets and income your family has, the greater the incentive for one spouse to attempt to hide some of that wealth from the other and even the courts. Understanding how hidden assets can impact the outcome of your divorce can help you make better decisions as you end your marriage.
The courts can only divide assets that they know about
Texas is a community property state. The courts do their best to divide all the possessions and debts you acquire during marriage fairly between spouses. In order to do this, they require that the couple seeking a divorce provide them with an inventory of everything they own.
Many larger assets, including your marital home, are often the focus of asset division disagreements. However, you should not overlook smaller but very valuable assets. These could include art collections, memorabilia, jewelry and even hobby materials that you have no interest in owning. These items can have significant value and are some of the things your spouse may try to hide during the divorce. Placing an accurate value on these items and listing them in your inventory is critical to a fair outcome to the asset division process.
Hidden money and bank accounts may require professional assistance
Not all spouses attempt to hide valuable assets in plain sight. Some might take more complicated steps toward hiding financial assets. Hidden or even international bank accounts are one source of financial obfuscation in a divorce. Tracking these down can prove difficult, which is why it is important to obtain accurate copies of the financial records from your marriage.
Tax documents and income statements can help determine if there is money not accounted for in your household budget and known bank accounts. If you have a difficult time going over these kinds of records, working with a professional, such as a forensic accountant, could help you locate assets your spouse attempts to hide.
This can benefit you, because then the courts will not only have the ability to divide those assets but may also choose to penalize your spouse for their attempt to hide them. Taking the time to locate hidden assets, whether they are physical items or financial accounts, can help you ensure that the outcome of your divorce is as fair as possible.