What Is The Penalty For Hiding Assets In Divorce?

Penalty For Hiding Assets In Divorce - Hiding Assets In Divorce - Hiding Money In A Divorce - Husband Hiding Money Before Divorce

What is the penalty for hiding assets in divorce?

Maybe you’re considering hiding assets in divorce. 

Or your spouse is hiding money in a divorce. 

Either way, you need to know what the penalty for hiding assets in a divorce is. 

In this article, you’ll learn about:

  • is hiding assets in divorce a criminal charge
  • what to do if a spouse is hiding assets in a divorce
  • are hidden assets discoverable by the courts
  • when is there no penalty for hiding assets in divorce

So, keep reading. 

You think your spouse is going to be hiding assets in a divorce. You need a lawyer who is skilled at discovering hidden assets. This way, you don’t lose money that is rightfully yours. This way, you don’t leave the divorce with nothing to your name. You don’t have to start from scratch. Fill out the form below to work with attorneys who can find hidden assets for you. 

Get A FREE Consultation!
We run out of free consultations every month. Sign up to make sure you get your free consultation. (Free $350 value.)

Penalty For Hiding Assets In Divorce

What’s the penalty for hiding assets in divorce? 

When you file for divorce, you have to fill out a financial affidavit form

Both spouses have to disclose the property that they own. 

When you file documents in court, those are being filed under oath

Lying on these court documents means that you have committed perjury

When you commit perjury, you will be held in contempt of the court. 

And contempt of court can be a felony.

But that’s just the consequences the courts will place upon you. 

The judge may give you another penalty for hiding assets in a divorce. 

If you are hiding assets in divorce, the judge may make you:

  • pay for your spouse’s attorney
  • pay fines to the courts
  • give up, some or all of, the property you’re hiding to your spouse
  • serve time in jail (in extreme cases)

So, let’s say you hide assets in your divorce. 

The judge may make you:

  • pay for your spouse’s attorney fees
  • give up that asset to your spouse 

Related: How Long Does A Divorce Take

What To Do If A Spouse Is Hiding Assets In Divorce

What should you do if your spouse is hiding assets during a divorce?

If you have a divorce lawyer already, let them know immediately

They can subpoena financial records from your spouse. 

This allows them to investigate whether or not your spouse is hiding assets or money. 

And then, they can present this evidence to the judge. 

The judge will then ask your spouse to testify under oath about the financial records. 

If they are hiding assets, the judge will decide how to punish them as mentioned above. 

But, what if you’re not sure and you don’t want to tell the attorney yet?

In this case, you’ll have to get your hands on the financial records yourself. 

Either by asking your spouse for them or getting them yourself. 

As the spouse, you have the right to obtain any records your spouse has. 

So, you can walk into any bank and ask for them. 

Related: Questions to Ask A Divorce Lawyer

Are Criminal Charges The Penalty For Hiding Assets In Divorce?

Normally, there are not criminal charges as a penalty for hiding assets in divorce. 

Hiding assets in divore is contempt of court

But civil contempt of court is not a misdemeanor charge like criminal contempt is. 

So, there will not be any criminal charges for hiding assets. 

Related: Wife Moves Out Before Divorce

Hiding Assets In Divorce

Let’s talk about what to look out for when your spouse is hiding assets in a divorce. 

Husband Hiding Money Before Divorce

Both wives and husbands hiding money before divorce is pretty common.

Some of the most common ways for husbands hiding money before divorce are:

  • transferring stock to new brokerage accounts under an entity name
  • claiming they took a pay cut and saving that “lost” money
  • opening bank accounts in the children’s names
  • hiding money in safety deposit boxes
  • deferring bonuses until after the divorce is final
  • creating fictional debt with friends and family 
  • underreporting their income on tax returns

If you think that your husband is hiding money before your divorce, check these out. 

Related: How to Leave Your Husband

Husband Withholding Money During Divorce

A husband withholding money during divorce is not the same as hiding assets in divorce. 

But a stay-at-home mom divorcing will most likely encounter this too. 

Especially if her husband is hiding money. 

If your husband is withholding money during divorce, you can file for Pendente Lite

Pendente Lite refers to temporary court orders

The judge will issue a court order making your husband pay you an allowance

This is so that you can afford the same standard of living you had during the marriage. 

But, it will only last until the divorce is final. 

Related: I Need A Divorce Lawyer And Have No Money

What You Need To Know About Hiding Assets In Divorce

This section is discussing scenarios that we see couples come up against. 

Failure To Disclose Financial Information In Divorce

Failure to disclose financial information in divorce is perjury

Disclosed financial information in divorce is used to calculate:

  • alimony that is owed
  • child support that gets paid
  • splitting marital property

Failure to disclose financial information in divorce can lead to your divorce being reopened later

Yes, that means the judge can reopen your divorce case and start over

If your divorce case is reopened, the judge will need to recalculate:

  • alimony
  • child support
  • division of marital property

Related: Does It Matter Who Files for Divorce First

Removing Marital Property Before Divorce

Removing marital property before divorce is final is illegal

Removing marital property before divorce is final can be:

  • removing items from the home
  • hiding money in a business account
  • removing collectibles or antiques
  • liquidating investment accounts
  • canceling life insurance policies
  • liquidating the children’s investment accounts
  • transferring money to friends or family to hold

No matter how they are removing marital property before divorce, it’s still illegal. 

If you suspect your spouse is doing this, gather evidence. 

And make sure that you inform your divorce lawyer

Related: Do You Have To Sign Divorce Papers

Transfer Money Before Divorce

Some spouses transfer money before divorce into other accounts. 

Their goal here is hiding money in a divorce in hidden accounts. 

Most spouses will start to transfer money months or years before filing for divorce

This way, they can build a stash of money that they plan on hiding during the divorce

Transferring money before divorce is illegal under state law. 

State law prohibits divorcing spouses from hiding marital property. 

This falls under laws for marital waste

Related: Family Law Attorney Payment Plans

Hidden Assets Found After Divorce

What happens when these are hidden assets found after divorce?

You will have to reopen a settled divorce case

To do this, file a “Motion To Set Aside A Judgement.”

This asks the judge to set aside their previous judgment and consider the new evidence. 

Let’s say there are hidden assets found after divorce that your spouse hid. 

In this case, the judge may award you up to 100% of that hidden asset

For example, this lady lost her $1.3M lottery winnings after hiding them in her divorce. 

Related: Filing for Divorce

Hidden Assets In Divorce Are They Discoverable

Hidden assets in a divorce are discoverable

To discover hidden assets in a divorce:

  • you can gather evidence against your spouse
  • hire an attorney who has experience with discovering hidden assets  

An attorney who is experienced at discovering hidden assets has the right team to find them. 

They will subpoena your spouse to give up documents like:

  • tax returns
  • financial statements
  • loan applications
  • account records

If your spouse is really good at hiding assets for divorce, the attorney may hire an investigator. 

Related: How Long Does Alimony Last

When Is There No Penalty For Hiding Assets In Divorce?

There is no penalty for hiding assets in divorce if they are separate property

Separate property is property acquired prior to the marriage. 

Your spouse does not have a claim to separate property. 

Some examples of separate property are:

  • an inheritance left in your name
  • property owned prior to marriage
  • gifts given directly to you
  • money from a personal injury lawsuit

Marital Property vs Separate Property

Marital property is property acquired after the couple has married

Marital property is also separate property that has used the marital funds to upkeep

Marital funds are any money earned by either party during the marriage. 

An example is a rental property bought before the marriage. 

If you used income earned during the marriage to fund the renovation, it’s marital property now. 

Separate property is any money or property acquired prior to the marriage. 

Related: Legal Reasons for Divorce

Community Property vs Equitable Distribution

Community property states split all marital property 50/50 between the spouses.

Marital property includes any and all assets acquired by either spouse during the marriage. 

Money and assets acquired before the marriage are not community property

Unless you co-mingled marital funds with them. 

Equitable distribution states split everything “equitably.”

It takes into account:

  • how long the marriage was
  • each spouse’s needs
  • each spouse’s contribution 

What To Do If Your Spouse Is Hiding Assets

If you want the best divorce attorneys to represent you, fill out the form below.

We have the experience needed to ensure that your rights are protected.

This means that you don’t wrongfully lose assets that you spent years building.

We also make sure that your divorce judgment is equitable and fair.

This means you don’t get raked over the coals financially.

After you fill out the form below, we will set up your free consultation.

Talk soon.

Get Your FREE Consultation!
Get access to our attorneys with a FREE consultation ($397 value).
Share This Post With Someone Who Needs To See It