Consequences of Lying About Your Finances During Divorce
There is nothing fun or comfortable about a divorce. While you are attempting to separate your life from your spouse and become physically, financially, and emotionally independent, you have to continuous share information with your soon-to-be ex. When you are not on the best of terms with your spouse, having to give up personal information can make you anxious, angry, and resentful. Unfortunately, providing honest and accurate information to your attorney and the court during a divorce is essential. Lying almost always has a way of coming back to haunt you.
Financial Disclosures During a Divorce
Both you and your spouse will be required to disclose your financial information during a divorce. This will include your income, assets, and debts. Your income includes all of your regular and sporadic wages, including any salary, independent contractor payments, and dividends from investments. Your assets may include real estate, investments, insurance policies, retirement accounts, pensions, art, and other personal items. Your debts may include credit card debt, auto loans, mortgages, and other loans.
Why Financial Disclosures Are Important
You may want to keep as much information as possible private during a divorce. Unfortunately, your finances must be out in the open. Documentation regarding your income, assets, and debts is necessary to determine what is part of the marital estate for the purposes of property division versus what is entirely your own. Without a full and accurate accounting of the estate, the judge cannot gauge whether a property settlement is appropriate or what is an equitable division of the estate. Your finances are also necessary to determine how much alimony and child support are necessary.
How and Why People Try to Lie About Their Finances
Individuals often try to lie about their finances during a divorce in order to retain more property than their spouses. It can also be to avoid having to pay alimony or at least reducing the amount and duration of spousal support. Lying can also reduce a parent’s child support obligations.
To further these unethical ends, individuals often:
- Report a lower income
- Fail to report all sources of income
- Hide cash
- Hide assets
- Undervalue assets
- Overstate debts
- Report higher expenses
Consequences of Lying About Your Finances
You may think telling a fib or two about your finances during a divorce is not a big deal. However, that is not how legal proceedings work. When you are required to provide your financial disclosures, you certify that what you return to the court is accurate and true. If this is false and you know it, there can be serious consequences.
If the court finds you intentionally lied about your finances, you could be sanctioned. You may have to pay fines and/or your spouse’s attorney fees. If you were requesting alimony and trying to make your income look smaller, your request for support may be denied.
Contact Our Leesburg Divorce Lawyers for Advice
If you are going through a divorce or planning on filing, call the Leesburg divorce lawyers of Whitbeck Cisneros McElroy PC at 703-997-4982. We can help you through this process. We will be honest in all of your disclosures to the court will fighting for your right to a fair property settlement.