Lying About Finances During Divorce Can Have Serious Consequences
When a married couple divorces and cannot decide how their property should be divided, the courts must step in to determine the fairest division arrangement. Courts use each spouse’s self-reported financial information like income and debts to make decisions about, child support, spousal maintenance, property division, and more.
Sometimes a divorcing spouse will lie about his or her finances during a divorce. Deceit can make the divorce process much more complicated and drawn out than it would otherwise be. Someone trying to misrepresent their financial circumstances may artificially devalue their income, hide real estate, or transfer funds to unknown accounts. These actions can result in monetary penalties called sanctions among other consequences.
How Do Spouses Misrepresent Their Financial Status?
A spouse who is being dishonest about his or her financial information may use many different tactics. For example, he or she may:
- Forge business ledgers of a self-owned business;
- Overpay the Internal Revenue Service (IRS);
- Exaggerate debt;
- Take money out of bank accounts and give it to someone else to keep until after the divorce;
- Sign real estate property deeds over to someone else;
- Buy expensive items with the intention of reselling them later;
- Hide valuables like jewelry and antiques at another person’s house;
- Make an unusual amount of cash withdrawals on debit cards; and
- Underreport workplace perks like stock options or employer retirement accounts.
Penalties and Consequences for Hiding Assets
If someone is found to be hiding assets or otherwise lying about finances during a divorce, the judge presiding over the case has the authority to respond in several ways. In addition to imposing sanctions, the judge can require the dishonest spouse to relinquish his or her remaining share of an asset to compensate for the assets he or she lied about. The spouse who falsified financial information can also be required to pay more in child support or spousal maintenance as punishment for attempting to deceive the court. In extreme cases, a person who continually refuses to be truthful about finances can be held in contempt of court and even arrested.
The St. Charles, Illinois property division attorneys at Mirabella, Kincaid, Frederick & Mirabella, LLC have experience managing even the most complicated marital property distribution scenarios. If you suspect your spouse is hiding assets or attempting to deny you your fair share of the marital estate, you need an attorney who can help uncover the truth. To schedule your initial confidential consultation with one of our skilled divorce attorneys, call 630-549-0960 today.