While most people undergoing a divorce would like to believe their soon-to-be-ex-spouse is an honest person, mistrust is often a central reason why a marriage ends.

With a lack of trust comes concerns over the fair distribution of marital assets, which are considered community property in Texas, meaning each spouse is entitled to receive half of all assets acquired during a marriage.

Understand how assets are hidden

A Harris Poll study reports that two out of every five married adults admitted to financial infidelity against their partners. Spouses usually hide assets in four basic ways:

  • They deny it exists
  • They create false debt
  • They transfer assets to a third party
  • They claim it was lost

Know where to look

Finding hidden or unreported assets can be challenging, but it’s not impossible as a paper trail usually exists. Combing through old tax returns is a good start, but a few other places include:

  • Payments for bogus products or services to family and close friends
  • Spouses who own a business may write checks to a nonexistent employee
  • Buying expensive artwork or other items and underreporting their value
  • Not reporting cash deposits
  • Colluding with employers for delayed bonuses, stock options and raises
  • Hiding assets in a safe deposit box
  • Setting up custodial accounts in a child’s name

Avoiding financial deception

If you are considering a divorce, take inventory of all marital and non-marital assets, and have the paperwork to back it up. An experienced family law attorney here in Texas can help you uncover all marital property for which you are rightfully owed.