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Hidden property: How to know if a spouse is hiding marital assets

People going through a divorce should be able to spot key signs indicating that their spouse is hiding marital assets and property.

While some couples decide to end their marriage in a civil fashion, through simple mediation or collaborative law, there are couples who go through a more heated and emotional divorce process. In some instances, one spouse may attempt to hide away marital assets and property from his or her spouse. Spouses who are unaware of this deception may be tricked out of a substantial amount of money that they were actually entitled to in the divorce settlement. Before signing the final divorce decree, spouses should understand how to spot key signs that their spouse is hiding property and/or assets.

Community property

Texas is one of the few states in the nation that follows the community property model of property division in a divorce case, as reported by the Huffington Post. This means that all of the property and assets that a couple accumulates during their marriage is split evenly in half. In order to bypass this method of property division, couples may choose to go through mediation or collaborative divorce, which allows them to create their own divorce settlement. However, if a couple cannot negotiate the details of the decree in a civil manner, they may resort to other ways of increasing their share of the property.

Handling financial affairs

In many marriages, one spouse is in charge of maintaining the financial records and accounts. One spouse may have access to certain banking accounts, while the other spouse may not know what the account numbers and passwords are. People may become suspicious if their spouse is hesitant to relinquish information regarding shared financial accounts.

Couples who own a business together may use that business as a way to stash away finances. The spouse who is responsible for keeping track of the finances may report an unexpected loss in the business, or show unreimbursed business account expenses.

According to an article published in Forbes, spouses that exhibit the following behaviors may be guilty of concealing funds:

  • Suddenly has more than one cellphone
  • Makes large investment purchases, such as jewelry, cars or art
  • Begins to overstate any debts that the couple has
  • Understates income from their employment, business revenue or return on investments

Some people may give high-priced items to close friends or family members until the divorce is finalized. At that time, they may reclaim the property.

How an attorney may be helpful

If you are going through a divorce, you may have strong feelings of frustration and anxiety. Ending a marriage can be emotional, and you may not make the best decisions during this overwhelming time. An attorney in Texas is able to listen to the circumstances of your case and give you legal counsel regarding your options. A lawyer may be able to walk you through the divorce process and help finalize a settlement that has your best interests in mind.

Keywords: divorce, marital, property, assets