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Financial Fraud in a Texas Divorce – Part II

Posted on in Divorce

Travis County Divorce LawyerIn our prior post, we discussed the red flags to watch for that could mean your spouse is committing financial fraud in order to prevent you from getting your fair share of marital assets in your divorce. In this post, we will talk about some of the steps your divorce attorney can take to make sure your spouse is not successful in his or her attempt to hide assets from you.

What to Do If You Suspect Financial Fraud in Your Divorce

Having a seasoned divorce attorney advocating for you is critical when it comes to protecting your rights in a divorce, especially when a couple has substantial assets, like the family home, bank accounts, retirement accounts, pensions, and more. During the divorce process, each party must complete financial affidavits that list their monthly income, assets, debts, and monthly expenses. These documents are filed under the penalty of perjury, however, that caveat does not always deter a spouse who is determined to commit financial fraud.

In addition to the financial affidavits, additional financial information can be requested by each side during the discovery process, however, there really is no way to know if the other party is providing all of the information requested. If you suspect your spouse is attempting to hide assets, there are steps that your divorce attorney can take to uncover that fraud, such as hiring a forensic accountant.

Working with a Forensic Accountant

A forensic accountant is often able to uncover financial fraud by reviewing the parties’ bank accounts, tax returns, credit card statements, retirement accounts, property appraisals, business ledgers, and other pertinent documents. Their financial expertise enables them to find funds which have been hidden. Some of the ways assets can be hidden by a spouse includes:

  • Unfunded trusts

  • Hidden brokerage accounts

  • Deferred compensation plans (bonuses, expense accounts, stock options)

  • Business owners hiding assets in company accounts

  • Secret safe deposit boxes

Dissipation of Marital Assets

In addition to hiding assets, a spouse may also be guilty of dissipation of marital assets. Dissipation of assets is when one spouse spends marital assets without the other spouse knowing or consenting to the use of these funds. The most common ways this occurs are:

  • Spending marital assets on extramarital affairs (gifts, hotels, travel, etc.)

  • Gambling

  • Drug addiction

  • Shopping addiction

  • Excessive spending on hobbies

  • Loaning family or friends money

Intentional wasting of marital assets is also a type of dissipation and is often done to minimize marital assets to commit financial fraud. Some examples include:   

  • Letting a property fall into disarray in order to lower the value of the property

  • Letting a property fall into foreclosure

  • Selling assets for much less than what they are worth

  • Transferring property into someone else’s name

When a spouse is guilty of intentional dissipation of marital assets, the other spouse is often entitled to a larger share of the marital estate in the divorce settlement.

Contact a Texas High Asset Divorce Attorney for Help

If you suspect your spouse of hiding assets or believe they are guilty of dissipation of marital assets, it is critical to contact a seasoned Austin, TX complex divorce lawyer right away. There are steps your attorney can take to freeze your marital assets and stop your spouse from committing fraud. Call Powers and Kerr, PLLC at 512-610-6199 to schedule a free consultation. Do not delay. The longer you wait, the more time your spouse has to steal assets that are legally yours.

 

Source:

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/financial-fraud-and-divor_b_8210922

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