Property division can be a major concern for divorcing couples in Texas. Unfortunately, some attempt to gain an unfair advantage by concealing assets or income to keep a greater share or avoid having to pay spousal support.
Knowing some red flags for deceptive behavior can help you become aware of suspicious activities early on. If this is the case, let your attorney know at once. It is possible to take steps, such as hiring a forensic accountant, to track the missing assets and help you protect your interests.
Blocking access to financial information
It can be fairly normal for one spouse to do the majority of the family’s bookkeeping. However, both should have full access to financial records. Taking steps to prevent you from accessing financial documents, bank records and credit card statements is typically a red flag. A spouse who wants to hide finances may change passwords without telling you or reroute financial correspondence to another address or a P.O. box.
Income, expenses and lifestyle do not match
If a spouse wants to begin squirreling away income, he or she may tell you there has been a reduction in her or his salary or that business has been slow. However, if you notice he or she continues to spend as usual, this may be a sign of poor money management skills or deliberate concealment. A mismatch between expenses and the family lifestyle can also point to deceit.
Unexplained transfers or overseas trips
A person who wants to hide assets will need somewhere to put them. This can mean opening new bank accounts, transferring funds or titles to a friend or family member, or even traveling overseas to make a bank deposit.
Pushing you to sign unread documents
Some types of deception may require you to sign off on asset transfers or fraudulent tax returns. If your spouse pressures you to sign something quickly, without giving you a chance to read through the document, remember the general rule of never signing anything you do not understand. In addition to giving up property rights, you may end up on the wrong end of a tax audit and potentially face charges.