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Hiding assets during a divorce can land you in jail

Your resentment may tempt you to withhold your spouse’s share of the marital property during the divorce process. However, it is against the law not to declare all your assets. If your spouse can prove your wrongdoing, you may stand to lose more than you were hoping to save.

You and your partner may both feel that one of you is more deserving of certain assets. If you and your ex-spouse are unable to agree on how to divide your assets, the court may apply equitable distribution, which does not automatically mean equal. The judge will consider several factors, such as your income, health, age, as well as your contributions to the marriage, before making a decision.

Asset concealment could lead to perjury charges

To get a divorce in Illinois, both sides have to submit a financial affidavit, which requires full financial disclosure. When you submit a financial affidavit in court, you swear under oath that everything on the form is true and complete. The court may consider your inability to fully disclose your assets as lying in court or perjury.

The penalties are not worth the risk. Perjury is a felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000.

You may also be found guilty of criminal contempt of court for interfering with the divorce process and disrespecting the court. Refusing to testify in court following an accusation of concealment is likewise grounds for contempt. Contempt of court carries penalties of up to $500 in fines and 190 days in prison.

There are numerous legal instruments that your ex’s attorney could use to prove that you are concealing assets, so it is not worth the risk. If you are concerned that your spouse will take what is rightfully yours, a divorce attorney can provide guidance on how to protect your assets.

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