When going through a divorce, it can be tempting to try and hide assets in an effort to save money and property from being divided. Regardless of the circumstance, hiding assets is always a terrible idea and it can lead to more trouble than you bargained for.
HOW ARE ASSETS HIDDEN?
There are a wide range of methods a spouse may implement to hide their assets. Typically, the assets they hide are either extremely valuable or ones they believe they are entitled to keep. For example, a spouse who has real estate under their name will try and transfer the real estate under the name of another family member or friend. Some will transfer large sums of money from their bank account into a safe deposit box. No matter what method is used, hidden assets are almost always uncovered during the discovery process.
Every state has a legal process called “discovery,” which involves each party of the divorce to disclose all financial information – bank statements, 401k plans, and property titles are all unearthed. During discovery, both spouses are placed under oath to be deposed. When being deposed, you and your spouse are legally required to provide a live testimony explaining the details regarding your assets and property. Lying during a deposition is perjury, which is a punishable offense.
PENALTIES FOR HIDING ASSETS
If you or a spouse is hiding assets and are caught, a judge can place sanctions that involve monetary penalties you’d be obligated to pay. In some cases, the court will order the guilty spouse to give up all of his or her remaining assets to the other spouse to make up for the assets that were hidden.
If you’re worried about protecting your assets during a divorce, don’t resort to hiding them – it usually never works and you may find yourself sitting in some serious legal trouble. Instead, hire a dedicated divorce attorney who will work tirelessly to protect your rights and ensure you are not shortchanged in any way. At Weis Law Group, we are more than divorce lawyers. We’re your allies.