Hiding Assets: What Happens When One Spouse Isn't Honest?
Texas is a community property state, so money and assets that were acquired during the course of the marriage belong to both spouses under the law. If you decide to get a divorce, each spouse is entitled to half of all marital assets under community property rules, regardless of how much income each brought into the marriage or who actually bought the assets.
To make sure that a fair divorce settlement is reached and each spouse gets his or her share of community property, both spouses are expected to make a financial disclosure during the Discovery process. Discovery happens when information is shared among opposing parties in divorce proceedings or other civil cases. When each spouse submits information during discovery, it is expected that they will be honest. Unfortunately, sometimes one of the two spouses decides not to be forthcoming, even though financial disclosure is required.
There are actually many circumstances where a person will try to hide assets when it comes time for a marriage to end. If you find yourself in a situation where your ex is hiding assets, you should contact Dallas divorce lawyers as soon as possible so an attorney can help you to take action.
What if One Spouse is Hiding Assets?
Hiding assets during a divorce is not lawful. If the court believes that either spouse is hiding details about wealth after being ordered to provide those details, the person who is hiding financial information could end up facing contempt of court as well as other consequences.
When one spouse hides assets, this typically also means that methods of alternative dispute resolution such as mediation -- which tends to be more cost-effective and lead to better outcomes -- will generally not work. Mediators don't really have the power to compel documents to be presented as judges do, so if one spouse is lying about financial issues, the mediator obviously won't be able to issue a court order requiring the information be turned over.
Experts such as a forensic accountant may end up needing to be hired in order to prove that one spouse is hiding assets during a divorce. This can also add to the expense associated with ending a marriage
And, if the hidden assets are not identified during the divorce, it may be possible to pursue a case called a Suit to Divide Undivided Property, which would allow you to recover a portion of the hidden funds or investments that were hidden during divorce. To pursue such a suit, you'd have to prove that the property in question actually existed at the time of the divorce and that your spouse hid the assets intentionally for purposes of committing fraud. It can sometimes be difficult to prove what a spouse's motivations are or that he had intent.
Dallas divorce lawyers can provide assistance in cases where you suspect your ex is hiding financial details or data from you. We can work with you throughout the discovery process to try to get the information you require and can assist you with other issues related to ending your marriage. To find out more about the help we can offer, give us a call today.