It is always in a party’s best interest to respond to discovery. This is for two main reasons. First off, it can hurt your ability to put on evidence at trial. Under the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure, failure to timely respond to discovery may prevent a party from being able to admit evidence at trial. If you plan on using witnesses at your trial and they are not timely disclosed during discovery process they may not be able to testify on your behalf. Evidence can be of the utmost important during a legal dispute, responding to discovery ensures evidence important to your case can be heard at trial.
Read on to learn what to do if you discover undisclosed assets after a divorce is finalized.
Whether a careless oversight or intentionally misleading, it is not uncommon for a person to discover that some assets were not disclosed during a divorce and were subsequently not divided and awarded in the Final Decree of Divorce. How do you seek relief if you find this happened during your divorce?
In Texas we have what is called a “Suit to Divide Undivided Property”. This suit is governed by the Texas Family Code and allows a party to file in an attempt to recoup assets that were not disclosed during the divorce. For a person to be able to file this suit, the assets in question must have been in existence at the time the divorce was pending. This is not applicable to income earned after the divorce or property purchased after the divorce is finalized.
There are certain factors the Court must consider when ruling on a suit to divide previously undivided assets. Was there fraud on the community estate? That is, did one party knowingly and willfully hide assets? Typically during the divorce process the parties will exchange a sworn inventory listing out all the community assets and debts. If it was listed on the inventory and not addressed in the division of property that was a careless error on the parties and their attorneys’ parts, not an intentional effort to defraud the other spouse.
Another factor for the Court to consider would be whether the Final Decree of Divorce that was entered included provisions for undisclosed property or assets. Sometimes a decree will include language that automatically awards property and assets in a parties name or possession, so that sort of language may bar any suit to recover undisclosed assets.
Time can be of the essence for any recovery so if you believe there were assets that were not divided under your final decree of divorce, please contact the Ramos Law Group, PLLC so that an experienced attorney can review your order and let you know what recovery, if any, is available to you.