Both spouses are legally required to disclose all of their assets to the court during a divorce. This is because the judge cannot begin the process of dividing marital property if he does not know what assets the couple owns. But sometimes, one party may attempt to hide some of their assets to ensure they are not awarded to the other party. If the court finds out, the party that is responsible can face serious consequences. Here’s a look at the legal consequences of hiding assets during a divorce:
Many people hire forensic accountants and other professionals to track down hidden assets. These professionals charge for their services, which increases the overall cost of the divorce. For this reason, the judge presiding over the case may decide to order the spouse who has hidden assets to pay all or a portion of the other spouse’s legal fees.
Division of Property
The judge can also choose to punish the spouse who hid the assets by awarding those assets to the other spouse. This happened in an infamous case in California, where a woman hid a winning lottery ticket worth $3 million from her husband during their divorce. Once the lottery ticket was discovered, the court awarded it solely to the husband instead of dividing it equally between the two spouses.
Divorcing spouses must complete a case information statement that lists all of their income, assets, and liabilities. Then, each spouse must sign the document under oath to verify that the information they provided is correct. Since the document is signed under oath, intentionally leaving assets off of the list is considered perjury. Although it is rare, the judge can refer this case to the property authorities in order to charge the spouse that hid assets with the crime of perjury.
Lack of Credibility
Hiding assets can also damage the spouse’s credibility. The judge may no longer trust the spouse, which can impact how his decisions throughout the divorce. As a result, the spouse that hid assets may have a harder time fighting for favorable outcomes in child support, custody, and spousal support disputes.
As you can see, there are a number of different penalties for hiding assets during a divorce. To avoid these penalties, it is strongly recommended that you tell the truth when filling out financial disclosure forms.
Do you believe your spouse is hiding assets? If so, contact Williams Law Group, LLC at once. Our experienced attorneys will work with other professionals to discover all of your spouse’s hidden assets. Call our office at (908) 810-1083, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact us through our confidential online form to schedule a consultation.