Can a Spouse Be Punished for Hiding Assets in a Divorce?

Posted on in High Asset Divorce

b2ap3_thumbnail_Shutterstock_757083730-1.jpgA spouse may try to avoid disclosing assets during a divorce when it comes time to exchange financial information, thinking that it will help them retain more of the marital estate. There are consequences for trying to hide assets, however. A spouse may face punishment from the court and end up with fewer assets than they otherwise would have if they had been straightforward from the beginning. If you are concerned your spouse may try to hide assets, a divorce lawyer can help you trace your spouse’s hidden assets.

A Spouse Hiding Assets May Face Sanctions

When one spouse hides assets, the other spouse may need to hire a forensic accountant and go to great lengths to track down the hidden assets. In doing so, they may incur considerable expenses. If the court discovers that one spouse has indeed concealed assets, a judge may order that spouse to not only split the assets fairly, but pay for the costs incurred in finding them.  

Contempt of Court

In extreme cases, a spouse hiding assets may face criminal penalties for how they behave during the court process. Both parties have the obligation to provide a full financial disclosure of all the assets they own, both to each other and to the court. If a spouse is hiding assets, it means that they have lied to the court. A judge can house that spouse in contempt of court and sanction them with penalties, which could include fines and jail time of up to six months. 

Hiding Assets Could Affect Equitable Distribution

In Illinois, a court looks at a number of factors in determining how assets are divided. Perhaps the most important of these is equitability, or fairness. While equitable distribution is largely predicated on how spouses contributed financially to their marriage, the court may also consider how spouses act during their divorce. A spouse hiding assets may receive a lesser portion of those assets or lose them entirely.

Contact a Wheaton Family Law Attorney Today

If you suspect that your spouse is hiding assets, you can work to track them down. The DuPage County divorce attorneys at Andrew Cores Family Law Group can help protect you and fight for your rights in a complex and difficult divorce. We have experience with high-net worth divorce and cases involving spouses who do not play by the rules. You can schedule a free consultation by calling us at 630-871-1002


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