What Happens If My Ex Hides Assets as We're Getting Divorced?

When a couple divorces, each spouse is required to fill out a number of different financial forms in which they list debts, income and expenses.

As with any legal document, both of you are required to be truthful in terms of what you disclose when you complete it. Although penalties exist for failing to disclose assets, many spouses take their chances and falsify information hoping to never get caught.Among the ways your husband or wife may attempt to hide assets is by not disclosing or understating the value of property acquired during the marriage. Inflating expenses or debts or downgrading their income are some other tricks many dishonest spouses are known to try to pull off as well.

Although it's illegal to hide assets or to be dishonest when making financial disclosures, it's something spouses do, especially if they want to preserve more for themselves and give away less to their ex.

We can take a survey released by the National Endowment for Financial Education as a sign of how bad things must get when couples divorce. Their research shows that even among married couples, at least 31 percent note that they've caught their spouse lying about finances. In nearly 35 percent of all marriages, one spouse has lied to another about either their income, debt or some other aspect of their finances as well.

With the threat of lies about finances on the horizon, you may be wondering what penalties your ex may face if you catch him or her in a lie. While they will vary depending on the jurisdiction, one real option may be being jailed for contempt of court or on perjury charges. Alternatively, your ex may end up having to pay your attorney fees and court costs for attempting to deceive you.

In other cases, the judge may decide to dismiss your husband or wife's claims altogether because he or she lied. When it comes to this, there are plenty of landmark cases from around the country where a judge ended up awarding the entirety of the couple's assets to just one of the spouses because the other lied.

If you're getting divorced and you fear that your spouse may be hiding assets in an effort to preserve more for him or herself, then a Naples attorney can provide guidance in your legal matter.

Source: Forbes, "What are the consequences of hiding assets during a divorce?," Jeff Landers, accessed Jan. 05, 2018