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Scott B. Meyer Attorney at Law

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Hiding assets during a divorce is risky

On Behalf of | Oct 3, 2019 | Firm News

Divorce can be stressful for any couple. If you are planning to end your marriage, you want to secure your financial future. To do so, you must receive a fair share of marital wealth. Of course, if your partner is not honest about assets, advocating for your financial interests may be increasingly difficult.

In Illinois, judges consider what is fair to each spouse when dividing marital property. You also have the option of reaching an agreement with your soon-to-be ex-spouse. Either way, both you and your partner must be truthful about marital wealth. As you may suspect, hidden assets can cause an unfair distribution of property. Hiding assets can also be risky. Here are some potential penalties for hiding assets during a divorce.

Less wealth

Perhaps the most common consequence of hiding assets is losing your fair share of marital property. If a judge discovers that you have taken steps to deceive your spouse, he or she is likely to take your conduct into account when dividing assets. Therefore, you may receive far less than you otherwise would have received had you been truthful.

Contempt of court

Judges typically enjoy broad discretion when enforcing court rules and decorum. If you hide assets, a judge may hold you in contempt of court. This official action may require you to pay a fine or spend a few days in jail.

Criminal charges

If you lie during an official court proceeding and while under oath, you may be guilty of perjury. As you may know, perjury is a serious offense that carries with it stiff fines and a potential prison sentence. Hiding assets may also involve other criminal activity, including fraud, forgery or money laundering. A conviction for any crime may stay on your record for the rest of your life.

Even though you may want to maximize the amount of marital wealth you receive after your divorce, hiding assets is not a good idea, as doing so may expose you to serious consequences.