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Can My Spouse Get in Legal Trouble For Trying to Hide Assets?

Posted on in Division of Assets

Il divorce lawyerConflict is a natural part of divorce for more couples. Even with the best intentions, it can be very difficult to reach a compromise on important issues like asset and debt division because the consequences can be serious and long-lasting. Illinois requires marital assets to be divided fairly, rather than equally, and “fair” can feel different to each spouse.

Sometimes, frustration at the marital asset division process will lead one spouse to try to hide assets in an effort to put themselves in a better position after the divorce. This is a serious mistake that usually backfires, leaving the spouse who hid assets in a much worse situation than they would have been if they had just followed the law from the beginning. Here are three serious consequences for hiding assets in an Illinois divorce.

Perjury and Contempt of Court

Depositions are an important part of divorce proceedings. They are essentially an out-of-court testimony proceeding in which the testifying spouse is under a legal obligation to tell the truth. If a spouse lies and is caught, he or she can be changed with perjury - that is, lying under oath. A judge can also find someone in criminal contempt of court for obstructing the court’s purposes. Both of these can result in criminal charges, which may even lead to a trial. A spouse who risks hiding assets is risking criminal charges on their record.

Jail Time and Fines

Perjury is a Class 3 felony that can carry up to five years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines. Likewise, someone convicted of criminal contempt of court faces up to 180 days in jail and fines of up to $500. Statistically, the majority of spouses who hide assets get caught; if you are considering hiding assets, ask yourself if the potential consequences are worth the rewards.

Loss of Marital Property

Judges who see a spouse trying to game the system, lie to the court, and cheat their spouse of their fair share of marital property may punish that spouse by changing the distribution of marital property. Along with any criminal charges, spouses who are caught hiding assets lose credibility and power in the property negotiation process, and may even lose ownership of an asset altogether. Instead of breaking the law and trying to hide property, hire a great divorce attorney who can help you get a fair deal.

Contact a Naperville Marital Asset Division Lawyer

If you are getting divorced and are worried that your spouse may try to hide marital assets, consider meeting with an experienced Naperville, IL marital asset division attorney with Pesce Law Group, P.C.. We can help you evaluate your situation and bring in outside help if necessary. Call us today to schedule your free consultation at 630-352-2240.




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