Can You Hide Assets In A Divorce?
When a married couple chooses to divorce, their assets are often divided. The specifics of this division are determined by a number of factors, including:
- Each spouse’s contribution to the marriage.
- Each spouse’s financial situation.
- Each spouse’s current financial and professional opportunities.
Sometimes, one spouse is awarded more assets than another spouse, as a result of the factors outlined above. To prevent this outcome from occurring, a spouse may choose to hide assets. Doing so prevents their former spouse from being awarded these assets.
What Does It Mean To Hide Assets?
The act of hiding assets in a divorce involves obfuscating the existence of assets that can, and will, be divided throughout divorce proceedings. Some of the most common hidden assets are as follows:
- Real estate
- Unpaid income
A spouse who hides these assets prevents their existence from being known to the court. By doing so, these assets cannot be divided, as their existence is unknown. This ensures that these assets will remain with the spouse who has hidden them.
How Are Assets Hidden?
Assets can be hidden in a number of different ways. Some of the most common ways a spouse may hide assets are as follows:
- Overstating their current debts.
- Claiming they earned an income that is less than what they actually earned.
- Claiming they had more expenses than they actually had.
- Undervaluing real estate or other marital property.
- Hiding cash.
- Buying expensive new items with cash.
- Failing to report cash income, such as tips.
- Delaying a promotion at their workplace or bonus from their job.
- Hiding jewelry.
Even if a spouse’s assets are hidden, this doesn’t mean they cannot be discovered. Rather, an effective legal team can, and almost always will, discover these assets.
What Are The Consequences Of Hiding Assets In A Divorce?
When a spouse’s hidden assets are discovered, a number of unique consequences can arise. Many of these consequences center on the legal concept of “perjury.”
Right before assets can be divided, in a divorce, both spouses must file a financial affidavit. On this financial affidavit is a spouse’s:
By filing, and signing, a financial affidavit, a spouse is making a claim under oath. The act of hiding assets means that a spouse who signs this affidavit is lying under oath, as the assets on this affidavit are only some of what this spouse possesses.
The act of lying under oath is considered perjury. Within the state of Florida, perjury is a felony of the third degree. The charges for a third degree felony include a period of incarceration no longer than five-years and a maximum fine of $5,000.
Many of those who hide assets, and fail to sustain this deception, never receive perjury charges. Rather, they are often forced to pay monetary fins or even the other spouse’s legal bills.
Speak With A Skilled Tampa Property Division Lawyer
A spouse who hides assets, in a divorce, is committing a criminal act. By committing this criminal act, they can face a number of different consequences.
Speak with a skilled Tampa property division lawyer today. We will assist you in retaining the assets that are rightfully yours.