Donna Dougherty Law P.C.

It is not a good idea to hide assets in a divorce

Couples who are going through a divorce in Virginia may understandably be concerned about finances. After all, it isn’t as easy to make ends meet on a single income, especially if one spouse lacks the same earning potential as the other. As a result, some people may attempt to hide money and assets from the other spouse during the divorce proceedings in an attempt to get more than half of the marital property.

Hiding assets occurs more often than people may think. According to the Huffington Post, some family law attorneys say they saw spouses hide funds in two out of every three cases. These hidden assets can take a variety of forms, including cash kept by a family member or friend, offshore bank accounts, safe-deposit boxes and stock accounts. Some may have homes or real estate that the other spouse knows nothing about.

There are numerous ways that hidden assets might be discovered. It is much easier today, for example, to trace account activity online or even to discover signs of financial infidelity on social media – such as when a soon-to-be ex-spouse goes on a lavish vacation with a new love interest, despite claiming to have no money, and posts pictures of the trip online. Those who suspect a spouse is hiding something might also look at tax returns, browser history or emails.

It is not uncommon for people to stash away money for an emergency when a marriage is going sour. How serious is it to conceal assets from the judge or the other spouse’s attorney? Forbes states that it is illegal to conceal funds and property during divorce proceedings. Lying about assets may result in such penalties as fines, the dismissal of the dishonest spouse’s claims or the other spouse being awarded more in property division. In some cases, fraudulent asset reporting could result in jail time.

During a divorce, it is in each spouse’s best interests to be completely honest about assets. Deliberately hiding money or property may end up being more trouble than it’s worth.

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