Consequences of Hiding Assets in Divorce

It can be tempting to hide assets if a marriage becomes rocky and a person is worried about the future or feels that they unfairly had to do most of the income production during the marriage. There are, however, severe repercussions if a person tries to hide money or property during a divorce in North Carolina.

A North Carolina family law attorney can explain the consequences of hiding assets in divorce and advocate for you in your divorce.

Consequences of Concealing Assets in a Divorce

Concealing or diverting assets in a divorce is marital misconduct under NCGS § 50-16.1A. The judge could justify changing the amount of spousal support or property distribution if a spouse hides assets.

When going through a divorce, people have to file financial disclosures that they sign under oath. Also, they might have to testify in a deposition or in court about their assets, also under oath. If they do not disclose all of their assets in these situations, the judge could find them guilty of perjury. They could face sanctions, which are financial penalties like fines.

In addition, the judge will consider the spouse who hides assets to be untrustworthy. This assessment of the spouse’s character could negatively impact the outcome of some other issues in the divorce when it comes down to a matter of “he said, she said,” and the judge has to choose which spouse they will believe.

What It Means to Hide Assets During a Divorce

When a person conceals money, accounts, valuable personal property, vehicles, real property, or other assets from their spouse or from the court in a divorce, they are hiding assets. Some people withdraw money from accounts and stash the cash in a safe deposit box or with a trusted friend or family member.

Cash withdrawals can take place in a lump sum or over time. For example, consistently getting extra “cash back” at the grocery store and squirreling away the money is one way that some people hide assets. Draining a checking or savings account well below its usual balance is a lump-sum tactic. Some people open overseas or offshore bank accounts that their spouse does not know about.

What to Do If You Think Your Spouse Is Being Dishonest About Assets in the Divorce

Tell your lawyer right away if you suspect that your spouse is hiding assets. If you notice that account balances are lower than you expect or anything else just does not feel right, your attorney might want to order detailed account statements to look for withdrawals or transfers. Sometimes, a forensic accountant could get used to tracing where the money went.

If you can prove that your spouse concealed assets, the judge could treat them as if they received those assets in the property distribution and award you a higher percentage of the remaining assets than they would have, but for the concealment. Also, the judge could consider the concealed assets when calculating spousal support, awarding you a higher amount of alimony.

The concealment of assets is a sophisticated issue. You will want to talk to a North Carolina family law attorney about the possibility of your spouse hiding assets in your divorce. Reach out to our office today for help with your case.