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TX divorce lawyerAll divorce proceedings are complex and potentially emotional for the parties involved. High asset divorces, however, tend to come with their own set of unique issues. For instance, hiding assets is much more common in divorces where one or both spouses have significant, unique, diverse, or particularly valuable assets. Fortunately, there are steps that divorcing parties can take to ensure that their spouses are not attempting to hide assets, so if you and your spouse have decided to file for divorce and you are concerned that he or she may be attempting to hide or waste assets, it is critical to speak with an experienced high asset divorce attorney who can explain these steps to you and ensure that your property is protected.

Most Common Methods of Hiding Assets During Divorce

Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for one spouse to try and hide assets from the other during divorce by utilizing one or more of the following methods:

  • Transferring marital assets out of a joint account into a newly created or already existing account that is only in one spouse’s name;
  • Transferring cash or investments to a friend or relative’s account until the divorce is finalized;
  • Purposely overpaying the IRS and instructing the agency to use the current year’s refund for next year’s taxes;
  • Taking cash withdrawals on debit cards;
  • Delaying any promotions, raises, or bonuses until after the divorce is finalized;
  • Delaying receipt of commission payments; and
  • Purposely failing to report employer retirement accounts or stock options to the financial analyst.

Couples who own an interest in a business have even more options when it comes to hiding assets, including:

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TX divorce lawyerMany couples who decide to file for divorce are willing to communicate openly and honestly about their assets in an effort to ensure that their divorce is resolved as smoothly and as amicably as possible. Unfortunately, this is not always the case, especially in high asset divorces when valuable property is at stake. In these cases, it is not uncommon for one spouse to try and hide assets from the other in an effort to avoid reaching a fair property settlement. If you believe that your spouse is hiding assets in order to avoid dividing them equitably upon divorce, you should speak with an experienced high asset divorce attorney who can help you determine your next steps.

Why Hiding Assets Is Problematic

Texas is a community property state, which means that most family law courts divide marital assets owned by a divorcing couple fairly and equally upon dissolution of the marriage. Hiding assets makes this endeavor nearly impossible and could leave one spouse struggling financially after the divorce is finalized. Unfortunately, this type of conduct is particularly common in high asset divorce cases, where one spouse wants to keep a unique or valuable asset to him or herself.

What Are the Penalties for Hiding Assets in Texas?

Because hiding assets is so detrimental to the process of creating a fair property settlement, Texas courts impose severe penalties on those who attempt to defraud their spouses in this way. For instance, a divorce judge who is confronted with evidence of concealed assets could order the at-fault party to give up the asset to the other spouse or could award a greater share of the community assets to the innocent party. Parties who choose to hide assets during divorce could even face charges from the IRS if those actions had tax implications.

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TX divorce lawyerDuring a divorce, spouses are required to disclose detailed information about their income, assets, and debts. This ensures that both parties are able to make informed decisions during the property division process and that any settlement or court order incorporates accurate information about all known financial factors. While many divorcing spouses are careful to provide accurate and detailed financial records to each other, it is also not uncommon for one spouse to attempt to lie about assets or debts in an effort to retain the entire interest in an asset or to force a spouse to pay more than his or her fair share of a debt. This type of conduct is strictly prohibited under state law, so if you believe that your spouse is attempting to hide assets or liabilities, it is important to contact an experienced high asset divorce attorney who can ensure that your interests are protected.

Improper Disclosures

Disclosing all of one’s assets, interests, and liabilities is a complicated process, so there are actually a number of ways that a spouse can avoid telling the truth about his or her financial situation. In many cases, this involves failing to list certain assets on necessary disclosure forms or assigning improper values to property or debts. Alternatively, a party could fail to come clean about when and how he or she acquired an asset or could hide documentation that would reveal the truth about property values or ownership. In other cases, one spouse misrepresents how much the other contributes to the household, lies about how joint funds are used, or even unfairly accuses the other of stealing funds. In either case, this kind of behavior is unlawful in Texas, so spouses that are discovered violating disclosure rules could be held in contempt of court, or lose their interest in certain property.

Document Review

One of the best ways to find out whether a spouse is hiding or lying about his or her assets or debts is to compare the information that he or she provides with financial records, such as:

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TX high asset divorce lawyerIn Texas, assets acquired during a marriage are subject to equitable division upon divorce. Whether a couple is able to reach a divorce settlement on their own in an out-of-court setting, or a court orders property division after the parties’ litigate the issue, a divorce will only be officially granted when an arrangement has been reached. In most divorce cases, all property-related issues are resolved by the time the court issues a divorce decree. However, it is also not uncommon for one party to discover, after a divorce has already been finalized, that his or her former spouse was hiding assets in an effort to retain sole possession. Concealing assets during divorce is unlawful, so parties who determine that they were unfairly denied an equitable portion of a specific asset can ask the court to step in and distribute the previously undivided property. This can be a difficult endeavor, so if you recently discovered that your former spouse was hiding assets during your divorce proceedings, it is critical to contact an experienced high asset divorce attorney who can help you collect your rightful share of your marital property.

Dividing Assets

During divorce proceedings, courts require couples to provide evidence of all of their different assets, including titles, deeds, bank statements, and receipts for collectibles like artwork or antiques. Providing this documentation helps give courts a good idea of each party’s financial holdings, which in turn, enables them to fairly and justly divide those assets between the parties. Obviously, a fair distribution of marital assets isn’t possible if one of the parties, or the court, is unaware that certain property exists. For this reason, when a party later learns that a former spouse was concealing assets, courts allow them to file a new lawsuit requesting distribution of the remaining undivided property.

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TX divorce lawyerAlthough Bitcoin is a relatively new type of currency, it is already playing an important role in the finances of many couples. Bitcoin, which is often referred to as cryptocurrency because it has no physical form, is not controlled by any government agency but is maintained in virtual accounts. Despite these major differences between virtual and standard currency, Bitcoin can be distributed during the property division process as if it were any other asset. For help ensuring that your own virtual assets are fairly and properly divided upon divorce, please contact our high asset divorce legal team today.

What Is Bitcoin?

Bitcoin is essentially a line of computer code that holds monetary value and is otherwise known as digital currency. While bitcoin can be stored offline on the owner’s computer hardware and so can be kept relatively safe, this digitization also means that it is easier for a spouse to transfer or hide them without the other spouse’s knowledge. The best way to ensure that your spouse is not hiding assets in this way is to take note of any conversions of real marital assets, like the contents of a bank account, into digital Bitcoin, which should leave a paper trail. Although it can be difficult to establish ownership of these types of assets, this is one of the most effective methods of ensuring that marital property that has been converted into digital currency will be divided appropriately.

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Texas divorce lawyerEven those who have seen their divorce coming for many years may still find themselves fearful and financially unprepared for life after divorce. Although the transition will most likely be emotional, there are ways to ensure that both parties receive their fair share of marital assets and so are not faced with financial difficulties. Doing so often requires an in-depth search of financial records, which although stressful and difficult, will help make it difficult for one spouse to hide or waste assets. Wasting, or dissipating assets is unfortunately not uncommon during high asset divorce, especially when the relationship between the parties is strained or acrimonious. For help protecting your own financial interests, please contact a member of our dedicated Leander high asset divorce legal team for advice.

What Is Asset Dissipation?

Unlike the hiding of assets, intentional dissipation involves the use of marital funds, or a marital asset, for a purpose that does not benefit the marriage. This often takes the form of buying extravagant gifts or otherwise making lavish and unnecessary purchases for the buyer’s own benefit. In fact, dissipation can even take the form of transferring property to a third party or suffering excessive gambling losses. It is also important to note that dissipation of assets is not just a continuation of typical overspending, but is waste that starts after the decision to get divorced is made.

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Posted on in Complex Divorce

Texas divorce lawyerCouples with significant or diverse assets are often required to deal with unique hurdles when going through a divorce. For this reason, many high asset couples are strongly urged to work closely not only with an experienced high asset divorce attorney, but also with a skilled financial team that can help assess the value of the couple’s property. To learn more about what kind of financial advice you may require during a high asset divorce, please call our legal team today.

Types of Financial Experts

Financial teams that assist couples who are going through a divorce often include some or all of the following individuals:

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Posted on in High Asset Divorce

Texas divoece lawyerMany couples who go through a divorce disagree on what constitutes a fair division of assets. These disagreements can become especially contentious when a couple has a significant amount of assets, or unusual non-traditional property. In these cases, the parties must be able to provide proof of the value of the assets in question to ensure that both individuals receive a fair portion. Unfortunately, this can be a difficult process for certain types of valuable assets, such as fine art, antiques, sports memorabilia, and collectibles, so retaining a high asset divorce attorney who has the resources and experience necessary to grapple with these kinds of issues is critical to the prompt and fair division of property during a divorce.

How Do I Place a Value on Unusual Assets?

Valuation is a key part of the property division process for high asset couples because the amount that each party will receive varies depending on the value of each of their assets. Unfortunately, estimating value for unusual items, such as artwork, can be difficult, as the couple may not even know its actual worth. For this reason, most high asset couples will need to work with an expert appraiser who can inspect the object and then determine how much it would go for at auction.

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