In Collin County and most other counties throughout Texas, once one spouse files for divorce, both spouses are required to disclose their finances in what is known as a Sworn Inventory and Appraisement.

The purpose of this mandatory disclosure is to provide both spouses with a clear picture of the assets that will be distributed in their divorce as well as the information they need in order to seek (or defend against) payment of alimony and child support.

Ultimately, the requirement for divorcing spouses to share their financial information is intended to help ensure that the spouses can achieve a fair resolution of their divorce as quickly as possible. So, what happens when one spouse tries to hide assets in a divorce?

Uncovering Hidden Assets in a Divorce

If you are concerned that your spouse may be attempting to shield assets your divorce, there are a few different methods available for uncovering hidden assets. In reality, the ways most spouses to attempt to hide assets are relatively unsophisticated (even if they think otherwise), and in most cases they have been tried before. As a result, attorneys and investigators experienced in contentious divorce matters can typically work to expose spouses’ attempts to hide assets by:

  • Constructing a Paper Trail – Using bank records, phone records, family business records, tax returns and other documents that you already have, your attorney may be able to piece together evidence of your spouse’s attempt to move assets or hide them with family or friends.
  • Using Formal Discovery – During your divorce, your attorney will have the ability to request documents, written statements and sworn testimony from your spouse in the process known as “discovery.” There are strong penalties for dishonesty during discovery, and your spouse’s attorney should advise him or her not to improperly withhold information during the discovery process.
  • Conducting a Forensic Investigation – Financial, computer and other forensics experts are extremely good at finding information that spouses do not want to be found. If necessary, your attorney can hire forensic investigators to uncover the data showing your spouse’s attempts to hide assets in your divorce.

Consequences of Hiding Assets in a Divorce

Attempting to hide assets can have severe consequences in a Texas divorce. Judges have broad discretion to impose a wide range of penalties on spouses who attempt to hide assets, from paying the costs of investigation to receiving a reduced share of the couple’s community property. In certain circumstances, withholding financial information may also result in a finding of contempt, which can carry additional penalties as well.

If you discover that your spouse was hiding assets after your divorce is final, it may or may not be too late to seek your fair share in court. In any case, to protect your rights, you should speak with an experienced attorney as soon as possible.

Speak With One of Our McKinney Divorce Lawyers Today

Nordhaus Walpole, PLLC’s divorce lawyers have extensive experience representing spouses in complex and contested divorces in the McKinney area. If you are concerned that your spouse may be hiding assets, we encourage you to contact us for more information. To schedule a free consultation with an experienced attorney, call (214) 726-1450 or send us a request online today.