What happens if your spouse hides assets until your divorce is finalized?

When most people think about hiding things in the context of a divorce I think the most common thought that comes to mind is a spouse trying to cover up an affair. Whether it’s by using a separate bank account or credit card for purchases or leaving extra clothes at the office to change into and out of, people are capable of sneaky behavior. If you are the other spouse it is understandable to feel betrayed and that your ability to trust that person will be forever harmed.

Another way that your spouse can violate your trust during the course of your marriage is by hiding assets. It is bad enough if your spouse were to do this prior to a divorce filing, but the situation becomes more complicated when it isn’t until after the divorce is finalized that the fraud is discovered.

There is a possibility for you to be able to bring this action to the attention of the court that divorced you and your spouse, even after the ink has dried on your Divorce Decree. The attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan would like to take this opportunity to discuss what the process entails with you today.

A Suit To Divide Undivided Property- What is it?

The means by which you can re-open a previously closed divorce case in Texas is by filing a Suit to Divide Undivided Property. The key thing to understand is that only assets that existed at the time of the divorce as subject to be being divided after the divorce. However, if your spouse is found by a court to have committed fraud in selling or otherwise altering the asset then you may be able to go even further back and have that issue examined by a court. What happens is that a judge will essentially act as if the asset was never sold in the first place and then add it into the community estate that is subject to being re-divided. Absent these kind of circumstances, it is crucial that you are able to prove that assets you are attempting to divide were in existence at the time of the divorce.

A hypothetical example to illustrate the issues

Let’s take a hypothetical married couple as an example of how the situation could play out in real life. Suppose that two people have been married for thirty years when the wife filed for divorce against her husband. The parties made it through the divorce and divided up their marital estate as many folks in Texas do. About three months after the conclusion of their divorce, the wife discovers that her ex husband had not come forward with information about certain amounts of retirement money that had been received by the husband while the divorce was ongoing. As a result, the wife files a lawsuit pointing this out to the court and alleging fraud.

The wife will want to have this newly discovered retirement money divided up subject to the laws of community property in Texas. Although the money (seen as income) may be in existence months after the divorce occurred, it is still necessary for the wife to show that the money was in existence at the time of the divorce.

How can our hypothetical wife (or in the real world- you or your spouse) show the existence of the money at the time of the divorce? The location where the money was kept would be a good start. The wife in our hypothetical scenario could obtain bank records and show when and where the money was deposited to prove its existence. The discovery process would allow for a hypothetical wife or you if this were to happen in your situation, to request bank account information that would need to be turned over within thirty days of the request.

Inventory and Appraisements- Paperwork to take seriously

When you first sign up as a new client with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan we will give you some paperwork to begin filling out for your case. This isn’t just busy work! One of those documents is an inventory of your separate and community estates. Basically what assets/debts you have and how you believe they should be viewed by a court- either as separate or community property. These documents are to be completed under oath because if it comes to it, they can and will be used in a temporary orders hearing or trial. It is important that if your attorney gives you paperwork like this to fill out that you take it seriously.

Diligence must be exercised during the divorce in order to maintain a Post Divorce Suit

It is not a good idea to view a post divorce suit to divide undivided property as a “second bite at the apple.” If you did not utilize all of the resources available to you during the divorce, such as requests for production of bank account information, then it is unlikely that a court will allow you to do so after the divorce has been finalized. Also, something as simple as including language in your divorce decree that any property in existence at the time of the divorce that has not been divided is subject to post-divorce division according to the law can allow you to keep the door cracked in case you need to re-open your case in the event of fraud or concealment of assets.

The Law Office of Bryan Fagan: Effective and assertive representation for southeast Texas families

If you have any additional questions regarding the issue of fraud or post divorce division of assets please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed family law attorneys are available to meet with you six days a week to answer questions and discuss your case. Families across southeast Texas have placed their trust in the Law Office of Bryan Fagan and we would be honored to speak to you about your family law questions as well.

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Other Articles you may be interested in:

  1. What if my spouse hides assets during our Texas Divorce?
  2. The Dirty Trick of Hiding Assets During Your Texas Divorce
  3. Should I Hide Money from my Spouse to Get Ready for my Texas Divorce?
  4. Why is Separate Property Important and How to Keep it Separate in a Texas Divorce?
  5. What Wikipedia Can’t Tell you About Texas Divorce and Marital Property Division
  6. Texas Divorce Property Division Enforcement
  7. Separate Property in a Texas Divorce?
  8. Does it Matter Whose Name is on Title or Deed of Property in a Divorce in Texas?
  9. Is Social Security Considered Separate Property in a Texas Divorce
  10. Business Owners and Business Assets in a Texas Divorce
  11. What to do when your divorce decree does not include a marital asset?
  12. High Net Worth Divorce / High Asset Divorce

Law Office of Bryan Fagan | Houston, Texas Divorce Lawyers

The Law Office of Bryan Fagan routinely handles matters that affect children and families. If you have questions regarding Divorce, it's important to speak with one of our Houston, TX Child Divorce Lawyers right away to protect your rights.

Our Divorce lawyers in Spring TX are skilled at listening to your goals during this trying process and developing a strategy to meet those goals. Contact Law Office of Bryan Fagan by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online form. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan handles Divorce cases in Houston, Texas, Cypress, Klein, Humble, Kingwood, Tomball, The Woodlands, the FM 1960 area, or surrounding areas, including Harris County, Montgomery County, Liberty County, Chambers County, Galveston County, Brazoria County, Fort Bend County and Waller County.

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Spring Divorce Attorney
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