Is it ok to hide assets before a divorce?


If your husband or wife is to blame for the upcoming end of your marriage, you may think you deserve most of the marital estate. Because Texas is a community property state, though, you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse likely must split everything you acquired during your marriage evenly.

While it may be tempting to try to get more by hiding assets before your divorce, doing so is a mistake. After all, you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse have a legal obligation to disclose assets to each other and to the court. If you neglect this obligation, you may face three potentially serious consequences.

1. Contempt of court

In any court proceeding, it is generally a good idea not to irritate the judge. If you do not comply with your disclosure requirements, you may do just that. Specifically, hiding assets may cause a judge to hold you in contempt of court, forcing you to go to jail, pay a fine or do both.

2. Criminal charges

Depending on how you try to hide assets, you may falsify documents, commit perjury or otherwise violate state or federal law. If prosecutors believe they can prove the elements of a criminal offense beyond a reasonable doubt, they may charge you with a crime.

3. Loss of the asset

If your spouse thinks you may be hiding assets, he or she may hire a financial fraud investigator to find them. Then, your husband or wife may ask the judge to award the asset to him or her.

Ultimately, hiding assets before the end of your marriage is a waste of time, as you are likely to lose either the asset or its value when a judge finalizes your divorce.

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