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Texas high asset divorce lawyer, Texax complex divorce attorneyA survey by the National Endowment for Financial Education found that 30 percent of spouses have been deceptive about money with their spouse, and almost 60 percent admit to hiding money from them. Considering these statistics, it is not surprising that one of the most contentious issues in a divorce is the division of assets. It is not uncommon for one spouse to try to hide assets from the other in order to avoid sharing those assets.

When couples are dissolving their marriage, they are required to provide financial affidavits to the court which reveal any assets they have. Although providing false information to the court is illegal, many spouses would rather take their chances and lie about their assets so they do not have to share them with their soon-to-be ex-spouse. If you are going through a divorce and think that your spouse is hiding assets from you, there are steps that you and your high asset divorce attorney can take in order to find those assets, including:

  • Subpoenas: Your attorney can file a subpoena to any financial institutions that your spouse banks at or your suspect he or she may have accounts at which will require they provide all financial statements and cancelled checks;
  • Forensic accountant: Unlike a traditional accountant, a forensic accountant also utilizes auditing and investigative skills to conduct an examination into an individual or company’s financial records;
  • Private investigator: A private investigator can conduct surveillance on a spouse to document any activity which may indicate hidden assets. A private investigator can also conduct a skip search which uncovers personal information on a spouse, such as credit information, utility bills, title information, and business licensing. These are all items which may indicate assets are being utilized which come for a source a spouse has not revealed.
  • The Internet: Many people do not realize just how much information is contained on the Internet. For example, if a spouse has purchased real estate as a way to hide assets, that transaction is most likely public record published on the web.

Other places that often reveal whether a spouse is hiding assets is their social media sites and Internet browsing history. Browser histories could reveal multiple visits to a bank’s website that the couple do not have funds at. Social media sites, both personal and professional, can reveal all kinds of information, such as posted photos and comments from friends and business colleagues which may reveal that a spouse has more funds than they are revealing.

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Posted on in High Asset Divorce

Texas high asset divorce lawyer, Texas complex litigation attorneyDuring divorce proceedings, both parties are prohibited from committing marital waste. This means that neither spouse can intentionally waste any marital assets just so that the other does not receive them during the divorce. Although Texas law strictly forbids the dissipation of assets during the dissolution of a marriage, marital waste still can and does occur, so if you are going through a divorce and are concerned that your marital assets are being wasted, it is crucial to retain an experienced complex litigation attorney who can represent your interests and protect your property.

What Qualifies as Marital Waste?

Texas is a community property state, which means that all assets accrued during a marriage are considered marital property and must be divided equitably between both spouses upon divorce. During divorce proceedings, both parties are permitted to use those funds for reasonable and necessary expenses, including those required to make house or car payments, pay the electricity bill, or purchase clothing. However, the parties are prohibited from wasting marital property, which could include:

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Texas complex litigation attorney, Texas complex divorce lawyer, Texas high asset divorce attorney, Earlier this year, the Panama law firm, Mossack Fonseca, leaked more than 11 million confidential documents. Said to contain information on how some of the world's wealthiest people hide their assets, those documents gave insight to just how easy it is to swindle a spouse during high asset divorce proceedings. But, until now, the general public did not have access to the names or information they contained.

Taxes, Divorce, and Asset Hiding

Asset concealing is not just done in the name of divorce. Many who commit this act of fraud do so in order to avoid paying full taxes on their millions or billions. But the reason is irrelevant when the spouse is either in the dark about the assets or unable to prove they exist – and therein has been the problem for some of the highest profile divorces in history.

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Posted on in High Asset Divorce

Texas high asset divorce attorney, Texas complex litigation lawyer, Texas divorce laws, In many respects, a stick of dynamite and a high-asset divorce have a great deal in common. Prior to the inevitable explosion, there is a burning fuse. Sometimes the fuse is very short; for example, there may have been an extramarital affair or an outburst of physical violence. Other times, the fuse is considerably longer, as differences simmer and eventually escalate into conflict. This process often takes place over the course of years or even decades.

Especially in the latter scenario, some level of fraud, or attempted fraud, is nearly inevitable. Since a spouse anticipates a high net worth divorce, there is ample opportunity to conceal assets. Fortunately, there are affirmative steps that an attorney can take to mitigate or erase the damage.

Preventative

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Texas high asset divorce attorney, Texas divorce laws, Texas complex litigation lawyer, The more assets you and your spouse have, the more complicated your divorce will be. Trying to manage the emotions as well as the future financial impact of the breakup of your marriage is a big job. Before you get too far into discussion about how to split up the property or how support should be paid, make sure you don't overlook these common issues in high-asset divorces.

IRS and Asset Transfer

In a typical divorce, the transfer of ownership of property or assets from one spouse to the other does not create a taxable event. The IRS is not going to charge you income taxes for giving your spouse title to the car in the divorce.

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Texas high-asset divorce attorney, Texas complex litigation lawyer, complex property negotiations,The marriage dissolution rate for these couples has doubled in the last twenty years. These "gray divorce" matters are often the epitome of a high-asset divorce. While there may be no complex child custody issues to resolve, the property division can be a Gordian Knot of separate assets, community assets, and commingled assets.

Aging baby boomers were the first demographic group to divorce in significant numbers. Many of these people are now in their second or subsequent marriage, and the fact that the divorce rate is significantly higher in these relationships may partially explain the gray divorce phenomenon. In one study, the authors pointed to unique later-in-life issues — such as the empty nest syndrome, declining physical health, and ailing parents — which can put added strain on a relationship.

The study predicted that gray divorce would increase even if the overall divorce rate remained flat, due to the aging American population.

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Cedar-Park high-asset divorce attorney, hidden assets, high-asset divorces, uncovering hidden assetsHiding assets from another spouse is an all too common scenario in high-asset divorces. Often, the offending spouse feels he or she is entitled to those assets and the other spouse is not. Hiding assets in a divorce is against the law; however, even that fact does not deter an unscrupulous spouse from keeping the other spouse from his or her fair share of a marital estate.

In many cases, this attempt of hiding assets is discovered during the divorce, often through the discovery process or with the aid of forensic accountants, however, there are also cases where the offending spouse succeeds in hiding the assets and they are not included in the final marital estate division.

If you have discovered that your ex-spouse hid assets during your complex divorce case, there is a good chance that you may still be able to recover what should have been legally awarded to you. The state of Texas has a legal statute which allows an ex-spouse to recoup undisclosed assets. The law is called Suit to Divide Undivided Property and is part of the Texas Family Code.

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Austin divorce attorney, forensic accountants, high asset divorce, complex divorce, division of property, hidden assetsWhen involved in a high-asset divorce, there are key issues which top the list of importance. Child custody may be number one if a divorcing couple has young children. However, for divorcing couples who either do not have children or have children who are grown, their number one priority often involves finances.

Texas is a community property state. This means that all property a couple has acquired during their marriage needs to be split evenly between the two spouses. Additionally, besides the usual bank accounts, divorcing couples involved in a high-asset divorce may own assets such as stocks, professional practices or businesses, various trust accounts, retirement plans, and insurance plans. Couples may have multiple properties in differing states or in foreign countries, as well as antiques, art, and other expensive collections. All of these items make up the marital estate and need to be evenly divided between the two spouses.

Also, one spouse may choose to hide assets or property from the other spouse in an attempt to keep those assets from being included in the marital estate, especially during a contentious, high-asset divorce. Therefore, it can be beneficial to utilize the services of a forensic accountant. A forensic accountant is specifically trained to recognize trends, patterns, and discrepancies that reveal what should be being reported and what is not being reported. Examples of the underhanded tactics a spouse may employ but can be discovered by a forensic accountant include under-reporting income, creating phony debt, overpaying creditors, and transferring assets to fake companies.

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