Lying About Money During a Divorce

Coronavirus Family Lawyer

Many married couples lie about money during one point in their marriage or another. Perhaps they’re embarrassed about a purchase, afraid the other spouse will be mad about debt or simply want to have a stash of cash somewhere for emergencies. While that is not illegal, it becomes illegal when the lying continues through divorce proceedings. If you don’t disclose all of your finances, including income, expenses, and debts, during your divorce, you are committing a crime.

How Is It Illegal?
When spouses sign divorce papers, they are giving their word that everything written within is honest and truthful. In a divorce, one of the required documents is a Financial Affidavit. When a spouse signs this document, he or she swears that everything in the document is true regarding assets, income, liabilities, and expenses. If a spouse signs this document, knowing full well there is money hidden somewhere else, he or she may be guilty of perjury, which is punishable under the law.

What Are the Consequences?
Every state has different laws regarding perjury and lying about money during a divorce, though they are all fairly similar. In a mild case, the lying spouse may be required to pay attorney fees for both parties. He or she may have to pay a fine, or all claims he or she made could be dropped. In a serious case, the lying spouse could face jail time.

In some cases in which one spouse lied about money during a divorce, the consequence is that the honest spouse is awarded everything the other spouse lied about. For example, if one spouse had a million dollars in a hidden account that was opened under an alias, and the court found out about it, he or she may have to give that entire million dollars to the other spouse.

If he or she had been honest about it in the first place, it’s possible it would have been seen as non-community property, and he or she would have been able to keep the entire amount. Even if he or she lost half of it during the division of property, it would be better than losing it all.

Receiving Legal Assistance
When you’re facing a divorce, there could be a lot of uncertainties. If your finances fall into that category, it’s still important, to be honest. To learn more about divorce proceedings and what you need to disclose, contact a family lawyer, like a Coronavirus family lawyer in Arlington, Virginia, today for assistance.

Thank you to the experts at
May Law, LLP for their input into family law and the Coronavirus.