Do I Have to Disclose All of my Finances During Divorce?
Over the course of a marriage, your life and the life of your spouse become intertwined, and so when you decide to separate, it is often difficult and emotional to separate everything. One important aspect of this is dividing your property and finances. Usually, couples need the help of an experienced divorce attorney who can help ensure that a fair agreement is reached.
In order to reach a divorce settlement, financial disclosure is usually necessary, and you should be prepared to disclose all of your finances. If you are found hiding assets from the other spouse throughout the divorce process, then it could result in severe penalties.
At Skillern Firm, we can help you understand what you need to disclose. We will use mediation to help you and your spouse divide property, formulate a parenting plan, and more. Where mediation doesn’t work, we will advocate on your behalf in the courtroom.
The divorce lawyers here at Skillern Firm truly care about your future. We will guide you through the divorce process while ensuring that your rights and needs are considered. We will take the time to find out what’s important to you so that we can do everything possible to support you.
Call Skillern Firm today at 936-213-8479 to arrange an initial consultation with a Houston divorce lawyer.
How Can I Avoid Disclosing My Financial Information?
Usually, financial disclosure is unavoidable. However, there are a couple of situations where it can be avoided.
Parties may waive their right to initial financial disclosures, but both parties must be in agreement, and a waiver must be submitted in writing and approved by the court. The decision to waive the right to financial disclosure must be made with careful consideration, and it is a good idea to seek advice from a divorce attorney before making such a decision.
There are also some situations where making financial disclosures could put a spouse at risk of harm from the other. If you are concerned about being harmed by your spouse, then a divorce lawyer can help you file an order of protection.
At Skillern Firm, we understand the care and dedication that cases involving domestic abuse require. We will get to work quickly to protect you and your children and will support you throughout the entire divorce process. We know how difficult it is to reach out for help, and our goal is for you to be able to transition to a new way of life in confidence.
How is Property Divided in Texas?
Texas is a community property state, which means that when a marriage ends, most of the property belongs equally to both parties. Usually, all assets acquired by either spouse while they were married is considered community property which means it is subject to division. Anything acquired before the marriage, or as inheritance, gifts, or compensation, is considered separate property and continues to belong to each individual.
In order for the court to distinguish between community and separate property, it is necessary to disclose all your financial assets.
There are some circumstances where one spouse may be able to retain some property as separate, which could otherwise be considered marital. Ultimately, the court aims to ensure that property division is fair and equitable, and they may consider the earning potential of both spouses and who has primary care of the children.
There are a lot of factors that go into dividing property, but when you have an experienced divorce lawyer by your side, they will ensure that your rights and interests are protected. Your attorney will evaluate your assets and help you retain the assets that are important to you.
Initial Financial Disclosures
In accordance with Texas law, divorcing spouses must provide certain financial information to each other within the first 30 days of filing for divorce (unless a waiver is approved).
The information that must be exchanged includes documents regarding property, bank accounts, retirement plans, investments, debts, and employee benefit plans. The information must cover the previous two years or since the beginning of the marriage if the marriage lasted less than two years.
Remember, the financial affidavit is a sworn document, which means that when you sign it you are swearing that it is accurate. If you try to hide assets, then the court could award the other spouse more assets as a punishment.
Preparing to Disclose Assets
Disclosing your assets accurately can feel daunting. To avoid legal repercussions, you should ensure that everything of value and all debts are disclosed. You must ensure that everything is accurate and that you provide proper documentation to support your declaration.
When you work with a Houston divorce lawyer, they will help make sure that everything is filed correctly, which can help make the process move along smoother and faster.
Documents that you may need to prepare to submit include:
- Your last two payslips
- The last two years of taxes
- Statements from your bank accounts, retirement accounts, investment accounts, and credit unions
- Documentation regarding any property you own
- Credit card statements and any other debt information, including mortgage payments, student loans, and payments for any other major purchases
- Information regarding vehicles and any other items of considerable value
- Life insurance policies
- Health insurance plans for yourself, your spouse, and your children
- Other financial paperwork
Disclosure of Financial Assets When a Divorce Involves Requests for Spousal Support
In Texas, spousal support is only awarded in cases where the court finds that the spouse seeking support lacks sufficient assets to provide for their minimum reasonable needs. They will also consider their ability to earn money to meet their reasonable needs.
In addition to the documentation required in divorces that don’t involve the potential for spousal support, the couple must also complete an Inventory so that the court is given an accurate picture of their finances. The form will include information regarding income from any source, as well as all liabilities such as car payments, mortgages, health care premiums, and debt payments.
What if I Think My Spouse Has Hidden Assets?
After a divorce, you have a right to your fair share of assets. If one spouse earns significantly more than the other, then they may try to hide assets.
Common ways that people try to hide their assets is to create offshore accounts, forge paperwork, or distribute assets to relatives.
If you believe that your spouse may have hidden assets, then you should speak to a family law attorney at Skillern Firm as soon as possible. We will help track down their assets and will ensure that you are given your fair share of marital property.
In some cases where hidden assets are discovered, the other may be awarded a higher percentage of the property.
Do I Have to Disclose all of my Finances During Divorce?
Securing legal representation from an experienced family law attorney at Skillern Firm could be the best decision you ever make. We understand the importance of the outcomes of your divorce, such as those relating to property division and spousal support, and will do everything in our power to secure your future.
Our divorce lawyers have the skill, dedication, and experience necessary to protect your rights. Everyone on our team is skilled in mediation, meaning we will minimize court costs wherever possible and help protect important family dynamics. However, we are also highly skilled in divorce litigation and will be prepared to advocate on your behalf in front of a Judge if necessary.
Give us a call today at 936-213-8479 and arrange a consultation with a Texas divorce lawyer. We represent clients in Houston, Sugar Land, and surrounding areas.