Are you the spouse who had hardly any insight into the finances of a family who is now going through a divorce? You may feel that your exclusion from those details puts you at a disadvantage when it comes to the process of property division. Unfortunately, financial deception in Texas divorces is common, and the spouse who handled the family’s cash flow, paid bills and was familiar with financial advisers may try to conceal cash, make up fake debts and expenses, and hide investments.
Typical financial deception tactics
The list of tricks up the sleeve of a spouse who wants to hide assets is endless, and you may find comfort knowing that a seasoned divorce attorney has likely had to deal with all the different tactics over the years. However, you might want to look out for some known telltale signs:
- Asset transfer between accounts: This might be the most common trick. Your spouse will simply transfer funds from your joint accounts — banks and brokerages — to personal accounts.
- Asset transfer to friends: If joint funds are transferred to a friend over time during the months leading up to the divorce, that friend can hold onto it until after the finalization of the divorce and then simply send it to your ex-spouse’s personal account.
- Overpaying the IRS: In anticipation of a divorce, your spouse can arrange to pay next year’s tax with this year’s refund. That will leave him or her with a handy overpayment to make use of after the divorce.
- Debit card withdrawals: Every time your soon-to-be-ex goes to the store, he or she can withdraw cash at the checkout counter. This will show as part of the grocery charge on the receipt.
- Delaying a promotion or raise: To show a lower income, your spouse can ask his or her employer to hold back on a salary increase or promotion until after the divorce.
- Accumulating commissions: In the time leading up to the divorce, your ex may arrange for the accrual of commissions on upcoming deals, for collection later.
- Blaming memory lapse: There is nothing easier than to conveniently forget to mention stock options, retirement accounts, defined benefit plans and more.
- Delaying business invoicing: If your spouse has a business, the potential for hiding assets increases exponentially. By holding back on invoicing clients before the divorce, a false impression of a struggling business is easy to create.
- Faking business expenses: There are endless manners in which to create expenses, such as false entries on the payroll, pre-paying vendors and more.
- Luxury purchases: Spending company assets on art pieces, vacations in exotic destinations and more can quickly reduce the business assets that must be divided in the property division.
Now that you are more aware of the tricks that could have a severe impact on your future financial stability, you may be less inclined to accept your ex’s disclosures of the family finances. While you may want to do some digging of your own, an experienced Texas attorney will know where to look for hidden assets and do whatever is necessary to protect your interests.