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Texas divorce: Is your spouse hiding assets?

Deciding to file a petition in a Texas court to end a marriage typically brings about many life changes, as well as emotional upheaval. Regardless of what events transpired or what unresolved issues led to your decision, one of your main goals may be to settle your divorce in as swift, economically feasible and amicable a fashion as possible.

As a parent, you especially want to navigate the divorce process in a way that enables your children to cope with the situation in a healthy manner. You want to support them as they (and you) adapt to a new lifestyle. You may also realize that, to do so, you need to be able to financially provide for your children's needs. If your spouse is more concerned with gaining the upper hand in property division proceedings than achieving a fair settlement, it can be a serious and stressful problem.

Hiding assets in divorce is illegal

Do you think your spouse is trying to hide assets to keep you from getting all that you're entitled to in your divorce? The first logical step to take if you suspect a hidden asset scheme is to further investigate the situation to look for evidence. The court certainly looks with disfavor upon anyone who tries to beat the system by initiating illegal activity. If you plan to accuse your spouse of hiding assets, however, you'll need to be able to support your claim with evidence.

Where to look for evidence

A spouse who is trying to hide assets in divorce will often get another person to help with the scheme. For instance, if you recently discovered that your spouse has given a large sum of money to a friend or relative, it may be evidence that he or she is trying to hide assets. If you ask about the money and your spouse says it is a loan or is payback for a loan, remember that this is a common way people try to hide cash before property division proceedings begin.

A careful review of your jointly owned bank accounts is another way to look for hidden assets. If your spouse is making withdrawals that you knew nothing about, it's a red flag. If he or she has opened a minor account for one of your kids, you may have reason for concern as well, because his or her name is on the account, making it easy to deposit or withdraw funds.

More red flags

Did your spouse recently make an expensive purchase, such as artwork, an antique or some other big-ticket item? Someone trying to hide assets might do this, then understate the value of the item when disclosing assets to the court. Overpaying in taxes or on a credit card account is another trick people use when they're trying to stash cash in divorce.

What options do you have to resolve the problem?

You might be one of many Texas spouses who decide to hire a private investigator to help uncover a hidden asset scheme. It's also important that you understand state property division laws, and that you realize that the law is on your side if your spouse isn't adhering to the rules of fairness that call for full disclosure of all assets and liabilities.

The court can hold your spouse in contempt if you show evidence to prove that he or she has been attempting to hide assets in divorce. You can tap into local resources to obtain legal support to seek the court's intervention to help resolve the issue.

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