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Trusts and other ways an ex might try to hide assets in a divorce

Jan 4, 2021 | Divorce

When two people are at the point of divorcing, they are often already on rocky ground. They typically distrust each other, and neither party may be interested in helping the other person get a fair settlement. In fact, some parties take this even further by actively preventing a fair settlement.

Hiding assets is one way that a deceitful spouse may do this.

Motives behind concealing assets

Texas has community property laws in place, which means that both parties are generally entitled to half of the marital assets accumulated during the marriage. Thus, people often try to hide property because they do not want their ex to get half.

Another motivation people have is self-preservation. They believe that keeping some property or money for themselves ensures that they will be financially okay after the divorce.

A final reason why someone might conceal assets is the fear of losing specific property. For instance, people might hide jewelry, artwork, family heirlooms and other valuable properties so that they are sure they will keep them.

Whatever the motivation is behind concealing assets, understand that in a divorce, this action is unlawful.

How do people hide assets?

There are myriad ways a person may attempt to hide or misrepresent assets. Possible ways include:

    • Overpaying taxes
    • Giving money or property to a friend with the understanding that they will return it after the divorce
    • Undervaluing property
    • Deferring salary increases or bonuses
    • Withdrawing cash in small amounts and transferring to an undisclosed bank account

Another way parties may hide assets is by putting them in a trust, which is the measure allegedly used by Texas billionaire Ed Bosarge. Reports indicate that his estranged wife is accusing him of transferring real estate, a private island, a mummy valued at $5 million and personal property to offshore and out-of-state trusts.

By transferring ownership to the trusts, the husband may have blocked his wife from receiving them in their divorce. She is currently challenging those trusts.

Considering the lengths to which people may go to conceal assets and property, anyone worried about a fair settlement would be wise to secure financial and legal guidance before either party files for divorce.