Photo of Ian F. Mann
Photo of Ian F. Mann

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We have deep ties to the community, we have represented clients in Southwest Florida for more than 25 years.

Are there any consequences for hiding assets during a divorce?

As you probably know, divorcing spouses must divide marital assets and debts. In fact, according to Florida law, each spouse usually ends up with an equitable share of these. Put simply,  you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse should receive a fair percentage of your marital estate, even though the two of you do not get precisely half.

Naturally, to divide marital assets equitably, both spouses and the court must know what assets and debts exist. To gain an unfair advantage, an unscrupulous spouse may attempt to hide marital wealth from the other spouse or from the court. Doing so, though, has some serious consequences.

Loss of the asset

Courts tend not to like to reward spouses who try to cheat the system. Therefore, if your spouse hides assets or takes other deceptive actions, the court is likely to award the asset or its monetary value to you. Still, to uncover your spouse’s deception, you may have to hire a forensic accountant or private investigator.

Contempt of court

In any divorce, both spouses must make certain financial disclosures to the court and to each other. If your spouse is untruthful on these disclosures, he or she is likely also in violation of court rules. This could cause the judge to hold your husband or wife in contempt of court.

Criminal allegations

It is sometimes difficult to hide assets without breaking the law. If your spouse commits fraud or any other crime, prosecutors may file criminal charges against him or her. Depending on these charges, your spouse may be looking at some serious jail time, steep fines or both.

Ultimately, because of the potentially catastrophic consequences that often come with hiding assets during a divorce, your soon-to-be ex-spouse is foolish to risk doing so.


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