Texas law requires divorcing spouses to fully disclose their financial standing. This is so the courts can divide the marital property fairly. However, this law does not prevent individuals from trying to deceive their spouses by misrepresenting their incomes or hiding assets.
Serious financial fraud by a spouse is rare, but if you suspect your spouse is hiding assets prior to your divorce, you may want to discuss it with an attorney. Even if you have stayed involved in the marital finances, you may still be unaware of how your spouse disperses money.
Where did the money go?
There are a number of ways in which a spouse can divert assets from a marital estate. An attorney can help you look for shell companies, trusts that aren’t funded, new safe deposit boxes or online brokerage accounts of which you are not aware. To confirm any suspicion of fraud by your spouse, an attorney will use his or her resources to review some of these items:
- Tax returns
- Credit card statements
- Property appraisals
- Bank statements
- Business registers
- Retirement accounts
The more money a couple makes, the easier it is to hide it without notice. It is not uncommon for a spouse to give or loan money to a friend or family member under the ruse that he or she is keeping it from you because of your gambling or spending habits.
How can I be sure my spouse is hiding assets from me?
Your spouse may also exhibit unusual behavior that makes you suspect he or she is keeping financial secrets:
- Avoiding conversation with you, especially involving money
- Frequently withdrawing cash from joint accounts
- Hiding transactions from you
- Diverting his or her mail from home
- Hiding the computer screen from you
Since the marriage is ending, there is probably already a certain amount of mistrust and secrecy. However, if that secrecy involves family finances, you have a right to know. Since it is not likely that he or she will disclose any fraudulent activities, getting help from an attorney is recommended.
An attorney can retain the services of a team of investigators and forensic accountants who have successfully discovered the deception of many other spouses. When hidden assets are discovered, an attorney will assist in accurately valuating them for fair property division.