Divorce can be stressful enough without having to worry about your soon-to-be-ex hiding assets in order to avoid division. Unfortunately, many people do hide financial information from their spouses, sometimes even when divorce is not in the offing.
Knowing the signs of potential deception can alert you to misconduct early enough to be able to do something about it. Your lawyer can advise you about the best ways to get proof and locate hidden assets.
Sudden drop in income
If your spouse claims a sudden reduction in income, it is time to look further into the matter. Whether the income comes from a salary, business profits, an investment or another source, you should know where that money goes. This can frequently go together with refusing to show you tax documents and demanding you sign the return without actually reading through it.
Shutting off financial information
Another common red flag is limiting your access to financial information. You should be able to view all accounts and statements and know where money is coming from and where it is going. Take notice if statements you normally receive on paper stop arriving at your house; a deceitful spouse may set up a mailbox or an online account to prevent you from learning important information.
There are several common ways spouses may hide money. People who make cash income can find it easier to hide in a secret account. However, it is often possible to track down these deposits. In addition to being penalized during property division, this type of deception can lead to tax fraud accusations if the spouse does not properly report the income - yet another reason not to sign blindly on a joint return.
Following up on fraudulent behavior can help you protect your rights
Texas law requires both spouses to fully and honestly disclose assets and liabilities in order to facilitate the division of community property. When a spouse gets caught trying to hide assets, the other spouse may get a larger share of the marital property, including possibly getting the entirety of the hidden assets.