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TX high asset divorceWhen it comes to a high asset divorce in Texas, both parties need to take care when selling or disposing of anything that might be considered marital property. In other words, do not sell all of your jewelry or expensive electronics and keep the money hidden from your estranged spouse. If you do this, a court may consider such actions “fraudulent” and penalize you when making a final division of the marital estate.

Judge Orders Ex-Wife to Repay Ex-Husband for “Constructive Fraud”

Now, selling assets that partially belong to you may not be fraudulent in the traditional sense of that word. But Texas law does consider it a “fraud on the community.” This is another way of saying one spouse breached their fiduciary duty to the other spouse.

Here is a real-world illustration of what we are talking about. In a recent Texas divorce case, a husband filed for divorce against his wife after eight years of marriage. The couple had no children. In his divorce petition, the husband alleged his wife had sold more than $50,000 worth of “household goods, furniture, and electronics” acquired during the marriage without his consent. Basically, the husband said he returned home one day to find his house “empty.” The house itself was the husband's separate property – he acquired it before the marriage – but everything else was considered community property.

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Texas high asset divorce attorney, Texas complex litigation lawyer, hidden assets, Constructive fraud is quite common in high net worth divorce cases. Many times, these matters involve long-term marriages which slowly deteriorated over a period of several years, giving the spouses ample opportunity to surreptitiously redirect community funds. There is also a compounding factor; for example, Wife may think little of giving children from a prior marriage a few hundred dollars a month without Husband's knowledge, but over the years, the community estate may lose tens of thousands of dollars.

In decades past, a separate tort lawsuit was about the only option for recovery of these funds. These cases are difficult to file, due to statute of limitations issues, and difficult to win, because of different evidentiary requirements. Moreover, even if they have substantial incomes, many Texans are essentially judgement proof. But the law recently changed, and fraud victims now have a remedy within the divorce procedure itself.

Reconstitution

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