What Happens If I Hide Assets in My Texas Divorce?
Posted on in Divorce
When you are in the process of divorcing your spouse, the temptation can be overwhelming to not be entirely truthful in disclosing all of your assets. You may feel that he or she does not deserve them, or that you are more morally entitled to retain the entirety of a bank account or pension fund. Do not give into this temptation; the penalties for hiding assets far outweigh any possible chance you might succeed in your endeavor.
Is It Common?
One might wonder how many people actually go so far as to hide assets. Research has shown that two in five Americans admit to some sort of untruthfulness with their partner about financial matters, whether it was outright lying or hiding, or simply softening the truth. More men than women historically hide assets, but of course, any spouse may be tempted, especially if they are the primary breadwinner.
There are specific rules governing financial discovery that must be complied with. For example, if you receive a gift of $500, that money is your own asset, but if you deposit the money in a joint bank account you share with you spouse, it now becomes an asset of the marital estate and is subject to Texas community property divorce laws.
If, despite the law, you decide to go ahead and conceal assets, the penalties can be very severe. It can be deemed a crime–most often, perjury or fraud–or a civil penalty like contempt of court. If the hiding is egregious, it may be both.
Divorce judges have no tolerance for people who lie about and conceal assets in an attempt to defraud their spouses. In fact, when this occurs, many judges turn around and award the entire asset to the innocent spouse. There are also potential federal tax implications for hiding assets.
When you sign the financial affidavits you have completed during discovery, or testify in a deposition, for example, you are swearing that the information you are providing is true. If it is not, you are lying under oath, which is the definition of perjury. The courts tend to take a stern approach to those who commit perjury in divorce proceedings, and it is fairly common precedent for attorney’s fees and sanctions to be awarded in cases where it occurs.
Contact a Collin County Divorce Lawyer
If you are going through a divorce and suspect your spouse of hiding assets, you need a seasoned and aggressive Plano, TX divorce attorney advocating for you and ensuring you get your fair share of the marital estate. Call Law Office of Brian Bagley today at (972) 843-7158 to schedule a free consultation and find out how our firm can help.