You probably know that one of the steps that you have to take during divorce is to list out your assets. Your attorney asked for your financial documents, because it’s their goal to help you get as many of those assets into your possession as possible.
To get all of your financial information, you may have to ask your spouse. They may have their own bank accounts or savings that you need to know about. If you don’t have access, then it’s up to them to give it to you.
What happens, though, if they won’t give you access to the information you need?
Not providing truthful information about your financial documents could be considered a way of hiding assets. Hiding assets is not legal, and it can significantly impact a divorce.
It is a legal requirement for both parties to disclose all of their assets, including their income, expenses and debts. Failing to do so means that some assets may not be recognized, so they won’t be split fairly. In worst-case scenarios, those hidden assets could be worth thousands, hundreds of thousands or more.
Why do people hide their assets?
Some people hide their assets to try to “win” the divorce through deception. They may:
- Report that they have higher expenses than they do
- Report a lower income than they really have
- Overstate the number of debts they have
- Hide/undervalue/understate the marital property they have in their possession
This isn’t fair, because both parties need to see what they share and to divide that property in accordance with the law.
What happens if a judge catches someone hiding assets?
Judges have a lot of discretion in these cases. There will be legal consequences for anyone who hides assets. The judge may order the individual to pay the other’s legal fees or to cover fines. They may even award a larger proportion of assets to the person who had the assets hidden from them.
If you believe that your spouse is hiding assets from the court, then speak up. A forensic accountant or others may be able to assist you and your attorney in proving that your spouse is attempting to hide assets, which can only help your case.