Community property laws in Texas protect the rights of spouses to share the value of assets acquired during a marriage. Divorce proceedings typically involve the disclosure of financial resources and the division of shared debts and assets alike.
It is quite common for people to want to retain as much of their marital estate as possible, and sometimes that desire pushes people to do unethical, even illegal things. One of the more common missteps that divorcing spouses take involves someone preparing for divorce by intentionally hiding property. They may provide inaccurate information to the courts and their spouse so that they can retain certain property without sharing its value.
These are some of the more common ways that people try to deny their spouse their fair share of marital assets.
Secret bank accounts and stashes of cash
Some people will start a separate checking account or savings account when they start thinking about divorce and will slowly deposit money into that account every paycheck. Others may worry that an account will be too easy to track, so they will start collecting cash funds. They might withdraw money after depositing their check each week or use their debit card for groceries or pet supplies and then ask for cash back. Doing so may allow someone to divert thousands of dollars over the course of several months from shared accounts. The longer someone takes to build their collection of cash or fund their hidden Bank account, the more they could potentially squeeze from the shared household accounts without their spouse noticing.
Removing, selling or giving away physical property
It takes a lot of gadgets and equipment glad to keep a household running. From toasters to furniture, there are many household items that someone may want to keep. They might remove these items by taking them to a rental property or storage unit. They might even leave certain assets with friends or family members. Other times, they claim to have sold the property for a tiny fraction of what it is actually worth but will arrange to regain those assets from the buyer after the divorce.
Undervaluing personal resources
If someone has consistently purchased brand-name clothing and accessories throughout the marriage, their wardrobe could be worth tens of thousands of dollars. While their spouse may not have any interest in keeping their name-brand purses, they do deserve to know what they are worth. It is very common for people to acquire assets were thousands of dollars and then underreport their value.
Those who suspect that their spouse may have hidden property may need to be particularly cautious when going over financial records and may even need to bring in additional help, like forensic accountants. Knowing how one spouse may try to hide community property from the other can potentially help those who are worried about getting a fair outcome in their divorces to seek the legal and financial guidance they need to secure their fair share.