Choosing divorce is always difficult, but it’s sometimes the best option. Unfortunately, divorce also tends to bring people’s worst traits to the surface. When divorce proceedings turn bitter, some spouses attempt to hide assets by making fraudulent transfers, misrepresenting their income, or concealing material possessions.
Why Would My Spouse Hide Assets During Our Divorce?
Spouses must disclose all of their assets and debts during Texas divorce proceedings. Still, some people attempt to conceal assets because:
- They believe they have a sole right to the assets. – This is especially common when one spouse believes they’re entitled to more because they were the sole breadwinner or earned significantly more income than the other.
- They want to hide their net worth. – If one spouse earns more than the other, they might be required to pay spousal or child support after a divorce. Some people hide assets to conceal their net worth and reduce their support obligations.
- They want to avoid unequal distribution of assets. – Texas law requires assets and debts to be divided “equitably” in a divorce, which is not necessarily the same as “equally.” A spouse could hide assets if they’re afraid the courts will force them to surrender “their” assets to the other spouse.
- They are acting out of spite or malice. – In some divorces, people hide assets simply to hurt their spouses or as a petty act of revenge.
What Are Some Red Flags that Could Indicate Hidden Assets?
The following warning signs could indicate that your spouse is attempting to conceal assets from you illegally:
- Overpayment of debts – If your spouse overpays their creditors or the IRS, the extra payment would effectively remain “hidden” until they receive a refund.
- Mysterious debt payments – If your spouse pays off unfamiliar “loans” to friends or family members, they could be executing an arrangement to hide and then get the money back.
- Seizing control of your accounts – If your spouse locks you out of your bank accounts or reroutes your account statements to different addresses, they might be trying to relocate funds.
- Unusual purchases or withdrawals – If your spouse makes expensive purchases or unusual withdrawals without notice, they might be trying to hide assets from you until after the divorce.
- A private post office box – If you find out about a secret post office box in your spouse’s name, it could be evidence of an attempt to hide bills or statements from undisclosed bank accounts.
What Can I Do If I Suspect My Spouse Is Concealing Assets?
Whether you are in the midst of divorce proceedings or just considering divorce and suspect your spouse is concealing assets, you can protect your rights by:
- Doing some research – Review bank accounts, income tax returns, credit card statements, and business records for unknown income, expenses, loans, transfers, or withdrawals. You can also search public records for evidence of real estate or vehicle purchases in your spouse’s name.
- Collecting evidence – During your research, keep any evidence you find. This could include tax returns, bank statements, bills, receipts, and even photos of undisclosed assets. If you obtain useful information from friends, co-workers, or family members, ask them to provide written and notarized statements.
- Contacting an attorney – A seasoned lawyer can help you request court orders that freeze certain assets or compel your spouse to provide financial documents. Many attorneys work with experts such as private investigators and forensic accountants, who could help you find valuable evidence of your spouse’s deception.
To discuss the details of your case with an experienced Bedford divorce attorney, contact Hargrave Law, PC, for an initial consultation.