If your marriage is ending because your spouse was abusive, unfaithful or otherwise responsible for the breakdown of your relationship, you may be justified in feeling a little bitter about having to split your assets. (That may even be doubly so if you were the person who worked hardest to acquire those assets and build up the nest egg you have — while your spouse only drove up the credit card bills.)
As tempting as it may be, however, to just keep quiet about the assets you have tucked away, you can’t — and shouldn’t try. There’s a discovery process during the early phases of any divorce. Even if you’ve previously kept some of your financial holding secret from your spouse, you’ll be asked to put all of your “financial cards” — good or bad — on the table. Your spouse is obligated to do the same.
What happens if you try to hide part of your nest egg? Although the idea can be particularly tempting if you feel like your spouse doesn’t deserve any of what you’ve saved, you will ultimately have to provide information under oath. Lying on your paperwork or during a deposition is perjury. If you’re caught, that can lead to a contempt of court citation, jail time and fines. You also weaken your position with the court — which could elect to punish you by giving your spouse a greater share of the money you sought to hide than he or she might otherwise receive or forcing you to pay for your spouse’s legal expenses.
Keep this in mind: Your spouse may have been planning to leave for a while — or may have realized that you had one foot out of the door some time ago. In the hands of a skilled investigator, your financial records can be used to trace any money you’ve hidden or investments you kept quiet.
If you are concerned about the division of assets in your divorce, find out what you can legally do to protect your rights. Please explore our page to learn more or contact us directly.