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Hiding assets may have serious consequences

Divorce can be hard on anyone. After all, if you have decided to end your marriage, you are apt to face a variety of emotions. You also may have uncertainty about your financial future. Fortunately, if you and your spouse have marital property, you are likely to have a solid foundation on which to begin anew. 

Georgia law allows each spouse to receive an equitable share of marital wealth. While this standard does not guarantee that you will receive exactly half of everything that you and your spouse own, it should give you some peace of mind. Nonetheless, if your spouse is not honest about the assets you jointly own, you may receive far less than your fair share. Not only is hiding assets inherently dishonest, but it also carries with it some stiff consequences. 

Contempt of court 

Divorcing spouses have an obligation to be forthcoming with financial disclosures and other court documents. If an individual refuses to reveal all assets, a judge may find him or her in contempt of court. While no party to any legal action wants to irritate a judge, contempt of court may also land an unscrupulous spouse behind bars. 

Criminal charges 

Depending on how your spouse chooses to hide assets from you, he or she may either intentionally or inadvertently violate state or federal law. For example, your husband or wife may meet the elements of fraud, forgery or even money laundering. Depending on the severity of your partner’s conduct, he or she may spend years in prison or pay steep fines. 

Lost assets 

Divorce attorneys know how to find hidden assets. If you suspect that your spouse is not being honest with you, your lawyer may recommend hiring a forensic accountant or an investigator. If your suspicions are true, then your spouse may have to give you the hidden property. He or she may also have to pay your legal bills. 

Clearly, hiding assets during divorce proceedings is a big mistake. Nevertheless, a bold spouse may try to get away with misconduct. By understanding the consequences of hiding assets, you can better advocate for an equitable share of your marital wealth.