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In high asset divorce, assets can be hidden within the family

It's very rare for a divorce in the Houston area to not involve property division in some way. In rare instances, couples who haven't been married long may have very few marital assets to divide. However, most couples are married for years, often decades, and thus have acquired plenty of shared property that must be considered if they formally end the marriage.

As many divorced Texans know, it's not always easy or simple to divide these assets. The level of complication can grow proportionately to the levels of income and assets. In a high asset divorce, in addition to figuring out how to divide assets, it's also important to know what, exactly, the assets are. Some spouses, particularly those who have a lot at stake in a divorce, may not be completely forthcoming and may even hide or misrepresent assets.

Not all hidden asset situations involve money in offshore accounts, as movies and TV often depict. Instead, financial professionals and attorneys know that hidden assets can take various forms, such as loans to family members with no interest. Another way assets may be concealed is if a spouse gets a family member to make a significant purchase with the money of the divorcing spouse. When spouses run a business together, or even if one spouse owns a business, the potential for hidden assets gets even larger.

The problem of hidden assets is one that can cause a lot of headaches for both spouses. The spouse hiding assets could face legal repercussions, and the spouse who suspects the other is hiding assets has to do some work to prove it. Moreover, family members who may have been "used" by a spouse to hide assets might not even realize they've been pulled-in to a divorce case. Since it often requires professional assistance, such as that offered by an attorney, to uncover hidden assets, it's helpful for spouses to work with their legal counsel on the issue rather than going it alone. An experienced lawyer can also offer advice on how to understand family members' possible roles in a spouse's asset concealment.

Source: financial-planning.com, "Finding hidden assets: Digging deep in HNW divorce," Andrew Pavia, Mar. 24, 2014

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Attorney Christine K. Lincoln

Christine K. Lincoln offers sound counsel and legal services to protect clients and their families facing divorce and other family disputes.

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