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What are the consequences of hiding assets during divorce?

On Behalf of | Jan 20, 2021 | Family Law

If you and your spouse have considerable assets, you may have trouble keeping tabs on everything you own. Still, as part of your divorce, you must make certain financial disclosures. While your soon-to-be ex-spouse has the same legal obligation, he or she may not be truthful. 

Hiding assets is a problem, as it may cause you to lose your rightful share of the marital estate. Because there are ways to find hidden assets in the lead-up to a high-asset divorce, deceptive behavior rarely works. Nevertheless, if your spouse tries to disguise wealth, he or she may face severe consequences. 

Loss of the asset

The most common consequence of hiding assets during divorce proceedings is the loss of the hidden asset. That is, if your spouse tries to gain an unfair advantage, the judge in your case may give the discovered asset to you. As punishment, the judge may also order your spouse to pay your legal fees. 

Contempt of court

If your spouse’s actions are egregious, the judge has the authority to hold him or her in contempt of court. While this simply means your husband or wife failed to comply with the court’s orders, contempt of court may temporarily land your spouse in jail. 

Criminal charges

To hide assets in a place you cannot easily find them, your husband or wife may have to violate tax law, commit perjury or engage in fraud. If your spouse’s conduct satisfies the elements of a criminal offense, prosecutors may charge him or her with a crime. 

Then, rather than receiving the benefit of his or her dishonest conduct, your spouse may begin his or her post-divorce life in handcuffs.