During a divorce, it is a legal requirement that each spouse disclose information about his or her financial situation. This includes detailed information about property, income, expenses and debt. However, some people are dishonest in their financial reporting. Sometimes a spouse will attempt to hide assets from his or her partner, and this can happen for several reasons. Often, a spouse does this to avoid having to share those assets with the other party in the divorce. Other times, a spouse may not want to report all of his or her income so that he or she will have to pay less in spousal support (alimony) or child support. Hiding assets during a divorce is against the law and can result in serious penalties.
Some common ways that spouses hide assets include:
- Hiding, or undervaluing marital property;
- Overstating debts;
- Underreporting income; and
- Reporting higher than actual expenses.
According to the National Endowment for Financial Education, approximately a third of US adults who combined assets with a spouse admit to being deceptive about money. The penalties for doing so can be strict. For example, in one famous incident, a woman won $1.3 million in a lottery before filing for divorce. She did not report this income and attempted to hide it. When the judge preceding over the divorce case found out, he awarded the entire $1.3 million to the husband.
Courts do not take these types of deceitful behavior lightly. If a spouse is found to have hidden assets during a divorce, the judge may:
- Hold the spouse in contempt of court;
- Sanction the spouse and force him or her to pay monetary fines;
- Force the spouse to give up his or her share in the asset and relinquish it to the other spouse; or
- Force the spouse to pay more support.
Dedicated Legal Counsel for Finding Hidden Assets
At Bochte, Kuzniar & Navigato, P.C., our attorneys recognize how important full financial disclosure is to an unbiased divorce process and especially to the allocation of marital property and spousal maintenance considerations. If you believe that your spouse is hiding income or property, or lying about his or her debts and expenses, you need the help of an experienced Kane County family lawyer. We will work with you to help you uncover the truth and ensure that you receive your fair share of property. Call 630-377-7770 to schedule a free consultation with a member of our team today.