Q&A: What Are the Consequences of Hiding Assets During a Divorce?

The risks of hiding assets during divorce are aplenty. There are many different penalties that courts can consider so consider the consequences of your action and the risks involved before you decide to conceal assets during a divorce.

  1. A contempt ruling by the judge

If a judge finds you in contempt, this could mean that you would have to pay a fine to the court because of your wilful disregard for the court’s orders (perhaps you had been ordered to make a full and honest disclosure of your assets and you continued to lie about the full extent of your assets).

2. Imprisonment

In addition to a fine, you could be ordered to serve time in prison. That’s right. By lying on your financial affidavit about your assets, you commit a crime. The court can send you to prison for a period of time that is totally within the discretion of the judge.

3. Restitution to your spouse

Restitution means to restore your spouse to the position they would have been if you had not lied about your assets so if you hid £500,000 worth of cash, you would be ordered to pay your spouse at least half that figure if not more in a community property regime, or a “fair” amount in an equitable property regime.

4. Forfeiture

In some situations if you hide money, once the money is found, a judge could take ALL of it away. That’s right. You could forfeit all the money you hid and your spouse could get it all, depending on the judge in your case.

 

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Next article: Is it time to call your divorce lawyer?

 

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