Property division negotiations often become contentious in high-asset divorce cases, and this is especially true in states with community property laws like Texas. Hiding assets during a divorce is both unethical and illegal, and spouses who engage in this type of behavior can face consequences ranging from an unfavorable property settlement and a contempt of court citation to criminal charges for fraud or perjury. The steps spouses take to conceal assets and cover their tracks are sometimes elaborate, and it usually takes the skills of specialists to identify them.
Overpaying creditors is a common way spouses hide money during a divorce. Once the settlement has been finalized, the spouse contacts the creditor for a refund. Reconciling bills and payments is the best way to prevent this from happening. Art, antique or classic car collections provide another way to conceal assets. When spouses become adamant about items of seemingly little value during property division talks, it could be a sign that the asset in question is actually quite valuable.
Efforts to conceal income or hide assets may be revealed by carefully scrutinizing bank accounts and other financial records. Frequent and unexplained transfers or withdrawals, cryptocurrency investments and missing or incomplete disclosure documents are all signs that negotiations may not be being conducted in good faith.
Family law attorneys with experience in this area may enlist the help of experts such as art appraisers, investment specialists and forensic accountants when their clients suspect that assets are being concealed. Attorneys could also demand all relevant financial documents during the divorce discovery phase and ask probing questions about income and assets in sworn depositions. When it is their clients who may be the ones concealing assets, attorneys could point out to them that this kind of behavior is unlikely to go undiscovered for long and its consequences can be severe.