Texas is a community property state. This means that all of the assets you and your spouse obtain during the duration of the marriage belong to both of you equally. It does not matter if one spouse worked outside of the home or one spouse made more money than the other. All assets are lumped into one estate, and the court will divide that estate according to Texas divorce law.
What happens in a Texas divorce if one spouse attempts to hide community assets and stop the other spouse from getting their fair settlement amount? You may not know if your spouse is hiding assets, especially if your spouse handles the family’s finances.
Steps to Protect your Assets
Before seeking a divorce in Texas, it is important to take the following steps to protect you and your family:
• Assemble records for the family’s financial assets
• Obtain copies of tax returns, bank accounts, retirement accounts, property tax records, 401k information, and any and all investment records. If you have been kept in the dark about finances by your spouse, it is time to become a detective.
• Open bank statements and write down account balances and account numbers.
• Look at cancelled checks; if your spouse is planning a divorce, they may try to move money by giving it to extended family or friends with the understanding that they will get the money back after the Texas divorce is settled.
• Examine all records for several years prior to the divorce and look for dubious transfers of sizeable sums of money. If financial records are not kept in the home, you can get copies of bank statements by calling the bank and requesting them.
• Call the IRS and request copies of past tax returns.
• Catalog valuables, jewelry and antiques in your home. Get appraisals for all of your valuables. Take pictures and put them in a safe place to ensure none of them are pawned or sold for cash.
How do spouses hide assets?
* Making investments or moving money out of the country
* Getting rid of financial records
* Laundering money through a business account or a fake account
* Setting up accounts in your children’s name
* Underestimating the value of collectibles in the home
Consider your spouse’s behavior. Has your spouse ever declined to answer questions or been evasive about bank accounts? Has your spouse ever denied you the right to examine your family’s tax statements, business records, or bank accounts? If you have a suspicion that they are hiding something, dig a little deeper.
Hiring a Texas Divorce Lawyer
If you hire a divorce attorney they will need financial information and finding financial records can help you collect a fair settlement in your Texas divorce. If you need help filing a Texas divorce or if you have questions, contact a Texas divorce attorney.
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