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Finding your spouse’s hidden assets during property division

by | May 5, 2021 | Divorce, Property Division

Asset division is often one of the most contentious parts of divorce proceedings. When spouses are resentful of having to divide the assets they have acquired over the years with their soon-to-be ex-spouse, they can sometimes take drastic and creative measures to try to hold on to as much as they can through the asset division process. Here are just a few of the many ways that people sometimes attempt to do this.

Hiding assets through gifts

Oftentimes when a divorce is imminent, people will begin bestowing lavish gifts upon their friends and family members. Sometimes this is an attempt to temporarily store the items with friends, with the intent of regaining them after the final divorce decree. Other times, they do it simply because they would rather see those assets in the hands of their friends rather than have to divide them with their spouse.

Hiding assets through the giving of gifts is considered fraudulent under Texas law and can carry serious consequences. If you bring to the attention of the judge that your spouse has done this, the judge can award relief in many different ways. They might grant you a greater share of marital assets than you otherwise would get, and they may even penalize your spouse with a money judgment.

Undervaluing assets

Another common tactic that divorcing spouses use to gain the upper hand in property division is to undervalue assets in their voluntary disclosures. In these cases, your spouse may not try to hide the existence of an asset, but they may come up with justifications for listing its value as far beneath what it is actually worth.

If you suspect that your spouse is attempting to use this tactic, it’s best to hire professionals to conduct an independent evaluation of the value of your marital assets. For example, if your spouse lists the value of one of your vehicles as suspiciously low due to factors such as its age, model or condition, an independent appraisal can give you a more accurate idea of whether those factors really do lower its value as much as your spouse claims they do.

Ensuring that you and your spouse have made a full and honest disclosure of assets is the best way to get through asset division as painlessly and fairly as possible. Knowing what to look for can help you to ensure that your spouse isn’t violating their obligations and cheating you out of your rightful portion of your marital property.