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Dealing with Undisclosed Assets in a Texas Divorce

During the course of the marriage, the possibility of not disclosing all one’s asset is likely.

The question now is: what happens if a one of the spouses finds out that their ex-spouse failed to disclose assets that were available to them during a divorce and the divorce has already been finalized? 

Emotionally, of course the party who found out about the undisclosed assets would be upset and would demand for their share of such undisclosed asset.

A suit should be filed regarding this matter to the court that finalized the divorce since the same retained jurisdiction over the matter.

The spouse must be able to prove that this undisclosed asset of the other spouse has been existing during the time of their divorce. Otherwise, the request for shares would have to be denied. This is based on the state’s Family Law.

Division of property after divorce in Texas

If the divorce has already been finalized and one of the ex-spouses wants split up property, they must refer to sections 9.201 and 9.203 of the Texas Family Code. It states that the only property that was existing at the time of the divorce can be split up after both parties and the presiding judge have signed the divorce decree.

If a spouse has sold a piece of property or cause the dissolution of such through other means before the divorce is finalized, it must be proved that this spouse has committed fraud in doing this.

In Texas, as a requirement in the divorce proceedings and part of the discovery process, both of the spouses have to fill out and submit before the court and to the opposing party a sworn inventory and appraisement of assets.

The appraisement is the part where the parties assign dollar values to certain assets to give the court a better idea on the kind of significance the parties have placed on any of the properties.

It is crucial to ensure that all assets are disclosed and included in the Inventory and Appraisement to avoid disturbing the finality of the Divorce Decree by splitting some undisclosed assets.

If the asset being disputed was not disclosed on that document, then the case of  one of the spouses to have that property divided is definitely weakened.

Lastly, In a post-divorce split of assets, the parties can look at the language used in their Final Decree of Divorce. The division of assets and debts in the decree is usually written in a language that is very straightforward.

Plain and straight to the point language is needed in order to avoid ambiguity that will warrant questions as to the parties’ intent and also, to make the decree comprehensible years after the finality of the divorce.

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Mr. Hutton is a Divorce and Custody Lawyer based out of Round Rock, TX. His background is with child psychology at Arizona State University where he received a B.S. in 2006, and he continued this by working with the Children’s Right’s Clinic at the University of Texas School of Law where he received his J.D. in 2009. Throughout his practice, he has been a strong proponent of utilizing modern technology to improve his practice and the representation of his clients. He currently is the technology chair of CAFA of Travis County and is committed to improving and modernizing the practice of law in Texas. If you have any questions you can contact him at timothy.hutton@austintexaslegal.com

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