Divorce Assets

Is it Illegal to Hide Assets During Divorce?

Divorce can be an incredibly complex and emotionally taxing process as couples navigate the challenging terrain of separating their lives and assets. The division of assets, in particular, often adds another layer of distress, as it becomes a critical point of contention.

Unfortunately, in some cases, one partner may resort to hiding certain assets with the intention of retaining them after the divorce settlement. However, it is essential to recognize that hiding assets during divorce is not only morally questionable but also illegal. Attempting to conceal assets during divorce proceedings can have serious consequences.

Hiding Assets in a Divorce: Common Examples

Hiding assets during a divorce refers to misrepresenting, concealing, or failing to disclose information about personal income, joint accounts, or shared property.

Some common examples of hidden assets include:

  • Underreporting or failing to disclose income
  • Claiming fake debts
  • Transferring or gifting valuable property before or during divorce proceedings
  • Opening secret bank accounts
  • Converting cash into less obvious forms
  • Hiding cash
  • Buying expensive possessions
  • Delaying bonuses
  • And much more

It is best to carefully examine these areas and to work with an experienced divorce lawyer who can help you discover hidden assets in divorce.

What Is the Penalty for Hiding Assets in Divorce?

Hiding assets during a divorce is not only illegal, but it can also have far-reaching consequences. Moreover, attempting to conceal assets can prolong the proceedings, increase stress, and create additional animosity between the parties involved. It is essential to approach divorce with honesty and transparency to ensure a fair and equitable resolution for all parties.

Some general consequences of hiding assets in a divorce include:

  • Being fined or ordered to pay legal fees for the other party
  • Losing credibility with the judge, resulting in an unfavorable judgment or ruling
  • Paying legal fees or other restitution
  • Granting the innocent spouse higher alimony payments
  • Perjury charges
  • Fraud charges

Hiding assets in a divorce is simply not worthwhile. In addition, lawyers and forensic accountants can reveal hidden assets, making it clear that the potential penalties outweigh any benefits.

What Is Perjury?

Perjury is defined as knowingly making a false statement under oath or affirming the truth of a false statement previously made, usually during legal proceedings. In the context of divorce, perjury can occur when a person provides false information in written documents or testimony during matrimonial proceedings, such as financial statements or interrogatories.

Perjury Penalties in New York

While perjury is considered a crime in most jurisdictions, New York classifies it into several degrees based on the materiality and impact of the false statements. Perjury in the third degree is a class A misdemeanor, but more severe offenses, such as perjury in the first degree, are considered class D felonies.

Penalties for perjury in New York can include:

  • Fines up to $5,000
  • Probation
  • Imprisonment up to 7 years for first-degree perjury

As evident, hiding assets during a divorce has serious legal ramifications and can lead to financial loss, damaged credibility, and even criminal charges in the state of New York. While divorce proceedings can be challenging, it's essential to work fairly and transparently with your spouse regarding the division of assets.

If you suspect that your spouse is hiding assets or if you need guidance through the divorce process, it's crucial to consult with our experienced divorce attorneys at the Law Office of Tzvi Y. Hagler, P.C. We can help you work towards protecting your financial interests and help you navigate the process.

Contact our professionals for experienced, compassionate legal representation to protect your rights and interests during your divorce. Don't let hidden assets compromise your financial future – take action today.

Call us at (516) 514-3868 or reach out to us online to get started.