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What are the consequences of hiding assets during a divorce?

During a contentious divorce, you may be tempted to hide some of your assets from your soon-to-be-ex spouse. This might include misreporting the actual value of something, or putting money or assets in secret accounts. However, when you divorce in Michigan, the law dictates that you must honestly and fully disclose everything that you own. This includes providing an accurate valuation of property, debt, income and expenses, according to Forbes.

Some uncontested divorces might not require a financial affidavit and similar documents, but in any contested divorce, it is a necessity. Although it might be tempting to lie so that you do not have to share marital property with your spouse, this kind of action is illegal and does have its consequences.

When you sign the legal agreements, you are stating that you have disclosed everything. This is under the penalty of perjury. If you are caught acting in a dishonest manner, you could face civil penalties such as fines or paying for your spouse's attorney fees. If you end up hiding a significant number of assets, you might even find yourself facing criminal charges for fraud, which usually comes with a jail sentence.

You are not alone in your desire to hide assets, as the results of one survey indicate that it is fairly common. In fact, of those spouses who participated, more than half indicated they had engaged in some level of concealing money or assets. Thirty-four percent were dishonest about an aspect of their financial situation, such as their level of debt or income. Minor purchases were hidden by 54 percent of the participants, and cash was secreted away by 58 percent.

Other common forms of dishonesty about assets that you need to steer clear of include overstating debts, understating the value of certain property or otherwise misreporting income or expenses. This information is intended to educate only and should not be considered legal advice.

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Lorrie J. Zahodnic

"I will hold you up until you can stand on your own two feet."

Lorrie J. Zahodnic, P.C. has provided skilled and compassionate legal guidance to Michiganders in family law matters for over 20 years.

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