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Are there any consequences for hiding assets during divorce?

Even if your marriage has not been entirely bad, you can no longer live with your spouse’s financial infidelity. Financial infidelity happens when one spouse is untruthful with the other about money-related matters. Sadly, according to the National Endowment for Financial Education, financial infidelity happens in as many as 40% of intimate relationships.

If your spouse has lied about finances during your marriage, he or she might continue to try to deceive you during your divorce. He or she even might hide assets from you and the court. This may cause you to end up with considerably less than your fair share. Luckily, there are some harsh consequences for hiding assets.

Loss of the asset

It can be difficult to disguise wealth during a divorce, so you are likely to find out about your spouse’s deception. If you do, you should inform the court. Because judges do not take kindly to hiding assets, you can expect the judge to award the hidden asset to you or at least give you its monetary value.

Court sanctions

When you divorce your spouse, the two of your must make financial disclosures to each other and also to the court. If your spouse lies on financial disclosures, he or she can face court sanctions. Contempt of court is a common one.

Criminal prosecution

Even though it might be possible to hide assets without breaking the law, your spouse also might commit fraud, perjury or another crime. If that happens, prosecutors might file criminal charges against him or her. Then, in addition to having to litigate your divorce, your spouse also may have to mount a criminal defense.

Ultimately, because of the potentially catastrophic consequences of hiding assets during a divorce, your soon-to-be ex-spouse would be wise to be forthcoming about all marital wealth.

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