Long-term marriages often lead to a sense of financial complacency. People become acclimated to sharing resources or letting their spouse balance the checkbook every month. They take for granted that they know the true financial state of their household and that their spouse is honest with them.
However, many people who navigate divorce in Texas eventually learn that they did not understand their household’s financial circumstances during the marriage. Some people experience the shocking realization that their spouse has hidden thousands of dollars in debt from them. Others may come to realize that they have never had full access to their marital resources due to financial obfuscation on the part of their spouse.
Some people only uncover hidden assets during the discovery process or sometimes even after a divorce decree. How can someone who uncovers hidden assets hold their spouse accountable for their financial misconduct?
Evidence is key in hidden asset cases
Documentation that shows one spouse siphoned money away from marital accounts to fund a hidden savings account that they did not disclose to the courts can be invaluable for someone pursuing justice. Some people will need weeks to review their financial records and the inventory of assets provided by a spouse to look for warning signs of hidden property and financial misconduct.
Others may actually need to bring in specialists, including forensic accountants, to track down and value the resources their spouse tried to hide. Once there is a paper trail establishing that someone acquired resources with marital income or diverted marital income from shared accounts, it may be possible to ask the courts for help.
How the Texas family courts handle hidden assets
In scenarios where people misrepresent their personal resources to their spouse and the courts during a divorce, their misconduct may trigger financial penalties. Judges may diminish how much of the marital estate they award to someone who lied about their finances.
Discovering substantial hidden assets following a litigated divorce could be one of the rare situations in which an individual could go back to court and ask to change the property division decree. Intentionally hiding assets from a spouse and the family courts is one of the few types of marital misconduct that can have a profound impact on a judge’s final decisions related to the couple’s property.
Especially for those who are unfamiliar with their marital resources or who anticipate a highly emotional divorce process, checking carefully for hidden assets with the assistance of a legal professional can help ensure a fair outcome to the property division process in Texas.