When going through a divorce, it is not an option to disclose all assets. Rather, it’s a legal requirement. Failing to disclose all assets can even lead to consequences, like an ex-spouse ending up with all of what was not disclosed. In extreme cases, it can even lead to jail time.
There are a number of ways a spouse can attempt to hide assets, like understating marital property, overstating debts, reporting higher expenses or reporting a lower income. Granted, in some cases failure to disclose can be an overlooked expense and not intentional at all, while others it can be an attempt to try and get more marital property and cheat an ex-spouse out of what is rightfully theirs.
According to the National Endowment for Financial Education, being financially deceptive is quite common among spouses. According to the study conducted by the NEFE, 31 percent of U.S. adults have in some way hidden assets or debts from a spouse.
The same study also found that 30 percent have hidden a bill or statement, while 58 percent have admitted to hiding cash from their spouse or partner. Another 34 percent admitted to lying about their finances, money they’ve earned or debts incurred.
When it comes to divorce, this is illegal. In a divorce there is typically a financial affidavit. By signing this affidavit, both parties are swearing, under the penalty of perjury, that all of their finances are being disclosed. This includes all assets and liabilities.
Making sure finances are properly reported is yet one of the many reasons to hire an attorney when going through a divorce. This attorney can make sure that everything is being reported and that nothing is being hid.
Source: Forbes, “What Are the Consequences Of Hiding Assets During Divorce?” Jeff Landers, Nov. 14, 2012
- Our firm handles the many aspects of divorce, including marital asset division. To learn more, visit our St. Louis marital property division page.