If you and your spouse have decided to end your marriage, one of the things you may be concerned about is how marital property will be shared. If you have substantial assets, you might be tempted to stack some away from the reach of the court and your soon-to-be-ex. Well, regardless of your motivation, it is important to understand that hiding marital assets is never a prudent idea.
New York marital property laws take the concept of equitable division quite seriously. Meaning, all assets and debts acquired during the marriage must be distributed equitably during the divorce process. Thus, during the divorce, both parties are legally obliged to make full disclosure of their assets and liabilities for purposes of fair distribution.
Here are valid reasons why you should never attempt to hide assets during the divorce process.
It is a crime
Hiding marital assets is a crime in just about all 50 states. While working on your divorce, you will be required to make disclosures to the court as well as the other party through court filings. And while submitting these court filings, you are agreeing to be honest under penalty of perjury. Meaning, withholding certain assets may amount to perjury. The result, you risk facing perjury charges, which might lead to fines and even jail time if you are found guilty of perjury.
You are never so smart
There is a pretty good chance you will not succeed in hiding those assets forever. Your soon-to-be-ex, with the help of forensic accountants, will somehow pry into your affairs and unearth discrepancies in your finances. And if they discover any hidden assets, they will definitely bring the matter to the attention of the court. Even if they discover these assets after the divorce has been finalized, they may as well petition the court to reopen the proceedings so they can get their fair share of the marital property.
Divorce can be messy and, at times, complicated. However, one mistake you must never make is trying to hide marital assets from the court or the other party.