Hiding Assets in a Divorce

Trying to hide assets from your spouse during divorce is never a good idea.

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Divorces can get ugly. When loss of money is a principal concern for either party, or when spouses are especially angry with each other, hiding assets can be a very alluring opportunity. Whether the purpose is for financial gain or revenge, hiding assets in a divorce can get you into trouble – not only is it unethical, it's illegal.

Law Requires Transparency

It is a legal requirement for all divorcing couples to be open and forthright regarding income, expenses, debt and assets during a divorce. Both men and women are guilty of deceptive unlawful behavior and hiding assets. The tricks people use to accomplish this come in various forms. Wives may hide heirlooms or stash away cash, while husbands underestimate marital property, overstate debts or report higher than actual expenses. According to the National Endowment for Financial Education about one-third of adults in the U.S. who combined assets with a spouse have been deceptive about money.

State Laws

Divorce laws and procedures vary from state to state, but can be categorized into two groups when it comes to how property is divided. The first category is community property states. These types of states require that all marital assets be split 50-50, not including any money or assets that were earned before the onset of the marriage.

Equitable distribution states divide everything equitably based on a variety of factors and circumstances of the marriage, and make decisions on a case-by-case basis.

Legal Consequences of Hiding Assets

When a person lies under oath they can face very serious legal consequences. In a primary process called discovery, divorcing spouses gather information from each other and third parties like banks and employers. During this process parties will be commanded to turn over this information and spouses may need to provide a testimony under oath about the assets and property.

If at any time it is discovered that someone lied under oath, forged documents or had a third party lie to the court they will face perjury charges. Omission of documents and failing to report assets is also punishable and can cause a person to be held in contempt of the court.

If you are in the midst of a divorce and believe that you are owed more money or the right to more assets than your spouse, you are urged to speak with a divorce attorney who can legally help you get what you deserve.

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