Why You Should Definitely Never Try to Hide Assets During a Divorce

Understand the Penalty for Hiding Assets During a Divorce

SecretiveYou feel angry. Betrayed. Frustrated and furious.

Divorce rarely brings out the best in us and oftentimes reveals our inner monsters. This is especially true if abuse and/or infidelity are part of the equation. Nonetheless, you may be obligated to hand over a significant amount of your assets to your spouse as part of your divorce settlement, especially if you earned more than him or put more into a retirement plan and savings while he was spending. (Wondering if you will Have to Pay Alimony to Your Ex-Husband? Find out!)

If you happen to live in a community property state (Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, Wisconsin, and possibly Alaska), you will actually have to split all of your martial property (generally everything you earned and purchased during your marriage) in half with your partner. If you feel like your spouse doesn’t deserve a single penny of your money, the temptation to hide assets may be compelling.

Don’t Hide Your Assets No Matter How Much You Want to!

At the beginning of the divorce proceedings, both sides will engage in a “discovery” phase, where they gather information about the finances and assets of the other. During this stage, you will be expected to turn over all of the relevant financial information your spouse and his legal team requests, including income statements, bank statements, investment statements, lists of property, etc. You may also be deposed and expected to answer questions about your assets and finances under oath.

If you lie during your deposition or on the stand under oath, you will be committing perjury, which could lead to significant fines, probation, or even jail time if you are caught! Refusing to provide requested information about your finances and assets can result in a court order to do so. If you refuse the court order, a judge can hold you in contempt of court, which can…you guessed it – lead to fines and jail time.

You May Not Be as Smart as You Think!

Of course, you can only be charged with perjury or contempt of court if you get caught lying or withholding information. You may believe that you can successfully hide assets from your spouse.

Think again! There are many ways to catch you in a lie. For instance, if you underreport your income, your spouse’s legal team can simply ask your employer for their records. Additionally, if your spouse suspects that you are hiding assets, his legal team may hire a private investigator who specializes in sniffing out hidden assets. Finally, if your spouse is the one who initiated the divorce, he might have been planning the move for months or even years and might have gathered financial statements or documented assets long before you have a chance to hide them.

At the end of the day, sticking it to your ex is not worth jail time, and hiding assets won’t make much sense if you have to pay huge fines as a result of a perjury conviction. As much as it may hurt your ego and your pocketbook, the best thing you can do is report your estate faithfully, get through the settlement, and move on. If you plan to get married again, a strong prenuptial agreement can help you protect your assets and give you greater peace of mind!

Worried that your spouse might be hiding assets? Learn where to look for hidden assets and more great information in our divorce article archive.

16 thoughts on “Why You Should Definitely Never Try to Hide Assets During a Divorce”

  1. Hi ladies. This may be unusual but my wife filed for a no-fault divorce unexpectedly in July 2019 on me After 28 years So I gave the $247,000 home to her to have and live in while I bought with a mortgage a trailer home she makes $128,000 a year and has nothing really in bank accounts while I made $68,000 a year and for 30years put money into a 401k with employer now worth over $200,000 and barely any money in bank for length of marriage we split bills equal now of course her lawyer wants that. Over years I gave her many diamonds and gold jewelry worth over10k and she hid assets on financial paperwork said jewelry was 1k when wedding ring was over 3k,tennis bracelet 2500 which I have the appraisals somehow in a box I had taken. Should I have the court get her for purging her self. I am a nice guy at 57 and she’s lying I never wanted a divorce just her I still love her looking for thoughts

    1. You certainly can ask that the jewelry be appraised, but before you do that, make sure that it is marital property to be divided and not a gift to her that is considered her separate property. If it is a gift, the value may be irrelevant.

  2. What do you do when you know your estranged husband is hiding a property in another state? I get emails from the property, & know the address but do not know the unit number he purchased for his girlfriend. The website would not send monthly newsletters without proof of your authenticity. Any suggestions on how to get the information I need without hiring a forensic accountant? They are ridiculously expensive & I cannot afford it. Any suggestions are welcome. Thank You

    1. You can search the tax records at the property assessor’s office in the county in which the property is located to find all real estate owned by him. The county may have an online search site, or you may need to call them and speak to a clerk.

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  4. I was divorced in 2011 in the state of NC and my ex husband didn’t reveal income from a patent. Do I have any rights to this income. The product has been bought by another company, so my ex- husband will be receiving income from this patent in or around 2018-2019.

  5. I am going through a divorce in Nevada. my ex kept a contested vehicle during separation and then concealed it’s location for a year until divorce trial. she didn’t even want to tell the judge where it was secretly stored! is this illegal? I’m awaiting the decree now.

  6. Is it possible to be able to get my half of my ex husbands pension, we were married for 23 years and he has other property that is considered joint assets

    1. Look at your divorce agreement to see what was provided regarding the pension — that is what determines how the pension is split. If it was not discussed in the agreement, then talk to an attorney to see if you can open up your case to divide an overlooked asset.

  7. Pingback: Signs That Your Spouse is Hiding Assets - Vayman & Teitelbaum, P.C.

  8. Going through 5 year divorce with ex that first throw me out of my home of 24 years on fraulent RO.he held it on me for 31/2 years continuing it for trail than finally drop it. My lawyers had to supenoa bank accounts because he said we were broke. 21/2 million dollar corporation he has bee hiding. It’s been a long road. He took everything. Going for settlement next week at this point I’ll settle for 1/4 just to get away from the pain of dealing with him.
    This reminds me of the oboe ‘catch me if you can’
    I’m tried of chasing him down its been a nightmare.

  9. Hello my question is ? I was Married with my ex husband for 17 1/2 years . He was in the military . And now I have been divorce since 2013 . When going through mediation he lied And never disclose information on 2 vehicles that I told my lawyer I was seeking to get during my divorce . And she never ask questions regarding vehicles. And also during the divorce process he told me that he sold vehicles. I also told my lawyer to ask for bill of sale ? She never ask for that as well . And also I was lied to from my ex husband regarding pension ? I never knew about till now back in March 2016 in court . And I’m intitled to . How do i go in getting what’s intitled to me . Thank you ! Adela

    1. If there was an asset that was not addressed in your divorce agreement, then you may be able to open your case up again to divide that asset. Other than that, it is likely impossible to open it up again after 3 years, but you should check with an attorney to be sure.

  10. Pingback: Why You Should Definitely Never Try to Hide Assets During a Divorce | SortStyle.com

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