For the average person considering divorce in Colorado, the biggest concern other than protecting the relationship with their children will be trying to secure a reasonable and fair outcome to the property division process. After all, even if you didn't earn much money during the marriage, you may have provided emotional and practical support in the home unpaid.
Under Texas family law, you have the right to a shared interest in the assets and income accrued during the marriage, regardless of what amount of income you actually earned. It's an unfortunately common practice for spouses, often the higher-earning spouse, to try to hide assets as a way of altering the divorce outcome.
If you understand common ways that people hide assets from their spouse and the courts, you will know where to look for potentially hidden assets as you prepare for divorce.
Secret bank accounts are more common than you think
To most people, the phrase "secret bank account" likely conjures images of an offshore account held in a Caribbean country. While it is true that some people with substantial assets utilize international banking practices to avoid taxation, offshore accounts are only one of several kinds of accounts your spouse could open without your knowledge.
Generally, spouses don't need to give one another approval to open any kind of investment, checking or savings account. Your spouse could bank with another institution, or they might even have a secret, extra account at the same bank you use for your joint assets.
Regular deposits, either directly from their employer or from cash withdrawals they made from household accounts, could add up to be worth thousands of dollars. In most cases, that money represents funds that both spouses should share in the divorce.
Safety deposit boxes and storage units help hide assets
If you ever thought that your spouse may have a secret storage unit filled to the brim with classic comic books, sports memorabilia or designer handbags, verifying that worry could help you in divorce.
Any evidence you can find, such as rental payments on a safety deposit box or storage unit, could help you uncover physical assets your ex wants to hide from you, as well as potentially incriminating financial documents or even large amounts of cash.
Items in plain sight can have more value than you might imagine
One of the biggest mistakes people make a divorce is when you and your ex agree to retain your personal possessions without consideration of their value. Plenty of the items your spouse owns that you have no interest in likely represent a substantial financial value.
Collections, vehicles, jewelry and many other items for which you have no desire to possess may represent a substantial value that would impact how the courts divide your assets. While you may not want to walk away from your marriage with half of a baseball card collection, you likely do want the value of those cards factored into how the courts divide your possessions.
These are only three of the most common ways in which someone hides assets. Partnering with information-gathering professionals, ranging from private investigators to forensic accountants, can help you determine the nature and location of hidden assets that your spouse doesn't want you to know about before the divorce.