When a couple decides to get a divorce, each spouse must provide the court with binding documents declaring all properties, funds, investments, and other assets. However, people sometimes try to lie on these documents in hopes that they will be able to retain more of what they view as “theirs.” Lying on a court document is never a good decision, especially where finances are concerned. However, even if you are completely honest in each of your court documents, your spouse might not be.
If you suspect your spouse is lying on their documents in an attempt to hide certain assets from you and from the court, it’s important that you take immediate action to protect your interests.
Methods for Hiding Assets
At the beginning of the divorce process, each spouse is required to disclose all financial details, including their income, debts, investments, properties, and so on. When someone attempts to hide anything on these documents, there will likely be signs indicating their wrongdoing. In an attempt to retain certain assets for themselves, the lying spouse might transfer money or properties to a family member temporarily. Or, they may withdraw large sums and attempt to hide the cash or store it in a safe deposit box. Some people simply lie about amounts, property values, or could attempt to omit an account or asset altogether.
When someone attempts to lie about their finances, there are bound to be signs indicating their wrongdoing. In some cases, you might be able to identify these signs, but you will usually need the help of a professional to truly prove your spouse’s wrongdoing before the court.
First, you will need to gather your financial records in order to report everything accurately to the court. If your spouse refuses to provide you with the documents you need, it could be easier for them to lie about certain assets without you knowing. In some cases, especially when the divorce is a contentious one, your spouse might tell you that he or she intends to keep certain assets for themselves, or your spouse may use financial leverage to threaten you. Sometimes the lying spouse may act aloof or dismissive whenever you talk about money, which could be enough to trigger your suspicions. Even if you only have a hunch that your spouse is lying, you should always take action and investigate the issue further before dismissing it.
How To Protect Yourself
If you suspect your spouse is lying about any assets during your divorce, your best option is to work with a legal team who knows how to handle cases like yours. There are several professionals who are well-equipped to deal with lying spouses and financial inaccuracies, including private investigators and forensic accountants. Forensic accountants, in particular, are well-versed in the art of finding hidden assets. Once you present your case, the accountant can set to work finding any hidden assets under your spouse’s name or finding any discrepancies in the documents he or she presented to the court.
In short, a professional can unearth the financial wrongdoing, providing you with the proof you need to present your case before the court.
Once you’ve gathered proof of your spouse’s lies, you can present your evidence before the judge. The penalties for lying in court are steep and can lead to serious repercussions. In the worst-case scenario, the judge may hold the lying spouse in contempt of court, which could result in jail time. In most cases, however, the judge will choose to penalize the lying spouse by awarding the hidden assets to the other spouse, or by awarding the honest spouse with more assets overall.
If you suspect your spouse is lying about his or her finances, you should take action immediately. Contact Empire Law today to discuss your family law case with our Bronx divorce attorneys.