When we think of divorce, many of us initially only consider the personal and romantic relationship which is coming to an end. However, divorce is not only the end of a romantic partnership, but also a financial relationship. Finances are usually merged when two people get married and move in together. Divorcing couples who cannot agree on how to split their accumulated assets will have that decision made for them by the court system.
Hiding Assets or Lying About Finances Will Only Drag Out Your Divorce
In order to make decisions about things like child support, spousal maintenance and property division, courts use each divorcing party’s self-reported financial information. For example, when a judge needs to decide how much spousal maintenance a person must pay to their ex, he or she will consider things such as each person’s income and future employability. Sometimes, in order to game the system, a spouse will lie about how much money they make or what their debts are. Doing this can significantly delay and complicate the divorce process. In order for a divorce to go smoothly, both spouses must be willing to be honest regarding their finances.
Ways a Spouse May Attempt to Defraud
It can be more difficult than you might imagine to spot someone lying about their finances during a divorce. Some married couples are very secretive about their assets and property, so a spouse suspicious of the other may not even know where to look to find clues of deception. There are many different tactics a person can use to misrepresent their financial status. A divorcing spouse attempting to deceive the court regarding their assets may
- Hide antiques, jewelry, fine art, or other valuables at someone else’s house;
- Take out cash from bank account(s) and put it in an unknown deposit box;
- Make unusually large purchases;
- Sign deeds to real estate over to another person;
- Exaggerate debts;
- Falsify self-owned business ledgers;
- Underreport employee benefits such as retirement accounts or stock options;
- Pay the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) more than they are due; and
- Make copious cash withdrawals on credit or debit cards.
Negative Consequences for Those Who Hide Assets
If a person gets caught lying about his or her finances during a divorce, they are at the mercy of the judge assigned to their case. A judge may order a deceitful spouse to pay penalties, or sanctions in order to compensate for his or her wrongdoing. Furthermore, the judge may force the lying spouse to relinquish remaining assets to his or her spouse or pay more in spousal maintenance. A person who continually lies or attempts to deceive the court during a divorce case can be charged with contempt and even arrested.
Considering Divorce? Let Us Help
If you are planning to divorce your spouse or you have further questions about hidden assets, reach out to the experienced Wheaton divorce attorneys at the Andrew Cores Family Law Group. To schedule a free, confidential consultation call 630-871-1002 today.