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Stop a hidden assets scheme in its tracks

On Behalf of | Apr 26, 2024 | Property Division |

When you file for a divorce in Texas, you and your spouse must negotiate a fair settlement. This state is unique because it is one of only nine states in the nation that operate under community property rules. This means that the judge overseeing your case will undoubtedly split all marital property 50/50 between you and your ex. Unfortunately, this sometimes tempts spouses to try to get away with a hidden assets scheme.

If someone hides assets in a divorce, the court has no way of knowing they exist, or, if the court is aware of the asset, perhaps it is unaware of its true value. There are numerous ways to stash cash and keep assets from being subject to property division. If you suspect that your spouse is up to no good, you might want to seek support from a forensics accountant or other source who can help you investigate.

Look for hidden assets in these places

The following list shows multiple ways that spouses often attempt hidden assets schemes in a divorce:

  • Purchasing gift cards or requesting cash back on debit transactions
  • Under-reporting income
  • Under-valuing luxury items like jewelry or artwork
  • Offering a false loan or pretending to pay back a loan
  • Funneling funds through a juvenile account (accounts require parental access)
  • Hiding cash in a safe deposit box or other location

A person can rack up a lot of hidden savings by requesting cash back with every debit purchase. Also, if you have kids and your spouse’s name is on a juvenile bank account, and money is missing from your jointly owned account, he or she might be using the juvenile account to transfer the funds.

What will the court do about the issue?

A Texas family court judge is not going to look favorably at someone who attempts a hidden assets scheme in a divorce. In fact, hiding assets is a type of perjury because divorce laws demand full disclosure of marital property and liabilities. You have a right to a fair settlement.

Therefore, if you believe your ex is trying to stiff you out of the amount you’re entitled to receive, you can bring the matter to the court’s attention. If you do, be prepared to present evidence to substantiate your allegations. If the court is convinced that your ex is hiding assets, the judge can rule him or her in contempt. Penalties for contempt of court may include fines up to $500 and up to six months in jail.