Because Texas is a community property state, you must identify which of your assets are separate property and which are community property. While you can likely keep everything you exclusively own, you must split community property with your soon-to-be ex-spouse. That is, you have a 50% interest in everything you and your partner jointly own.
Because dividing property during a divorce can be contentious, you may need to advocate for what is rightfully yours. Still, you can only argue for a share of marital wealth if you know assets exist. Regrettably, to receive more than his or her due, your partner may try to hide assets from you.
Hiding marital wealth
Unscrupulous spouses have a variety of ways to disguise marital wealth from their soon-to-be exes. If you notice any of the following, your partner may be trying to deceive you:
- Your spouse refuses to share financial documents with you
- Your spouse makes unusual loans to friends, relatives, or business associates
- Your spouse defers bonuses or overpays bills
- Your spouse buys items that only interest him or her
Finding hidden assets
If you think your spouse is hiding assets, you may need to conduct a thorough investigation into the matter. You may not have the skills to do it by yourself, however. Instead, you may want to hire a forensic accountant. This type of professional has the experience and training necessary to track down many types of hidden assets.
Paying a steep price
Hiding assets during a divorce is usually bad for both spouses. While one spouse may receive far fewer marital assets than he or she otherwise would have, the deceptive spouse may also pay a steep price upon discovery. That is, the judge may award all uncovered hidden assets to the honest spouse. In cases of extreme misconduct, the hiding spouse may also face criminal or civil penalties.
Because hidden assets can complicate any divorce, it is important for each spouse to complete financial disclosures honestly and completely. If your spouse tries to deceive you, you must work diligently to protect your financial future.