Divorce can be difficult for everyone. It is not unusual for divorce to bring out the worst in people. And one way this happens is when one or both parties decide to hide marital assets from each other or the eyes of the court.
There are a number of reasons why a spouse may be tempted to hide marital assets. They may simply want to hide money or attempt to protect certain assets that they do not wish to lose during property division. Some may also hide marital assets gain an upper hand during property division or avoid post-divorce responsibilities like paying child and spousal support. Whatever the motivation, it is important to understand that this is a serious offense that can lead to legal consequences.
Here are three possible consequences that you may face if it is discovered that you are hiding marital assets.
Florida is an equitable distribution state. This means that marital property must be divided in a manner that is both fair and equitable. A spouse who is attempting to hide marital assets during the divorce process may face the following penalties:
- Asset re-allocation – the spouse who is hiding assets may end up losing a larger portion of the marital assets in favor of the other party. Additionally, the perpetrator may be directed to cover any fees associated with asset tracking and recovery.
- Contempt of court charges – hiding marital assets amounts to lying under oath. If found guilty, the perpetrator may face contempt of court charges with the possibility of paying a fine or serving jail time.
- Perjury charges – a spouse may also be charged with perjury if it is discovered that they are lying about assets. This too can lead to fines and jail time.
When a couple decides to dissolve their marriage, the Florida court will direct that marital property be divided in accordance with the state’s marital property division laws. Attempting to mislead the court by hiding marital assets can result in serious consequences to the perpetrator.