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What are the penalties for hiding assets?

On Behalf of | Oct 13, 2020 | Divorce

Massachusetts divorcing couples often struggle to divide assets and property. In fact, this is one of the most contentious parts of a divorce, especially for childless couples who do not have to worry about custody battles.

Extra complications get thrown in when a spouse makes attempts to hide assets. If your ex-partner attempts this, what sort of penalties may they face?

The importance of your financial affidavit

Forbes discusses the potential repercussions for hiding assets during divorce. They start with the financial affidavit. Every couple participating in contested divorce must sign a financial affidavit. This signals to the courts that you are telling the truth to the best of your knowledge. In specific, you speak the truth about your financial situation and assets.

Perjury in Massachusetts

By attempting to hide assets, your ex-partner commits an act of perjury by lying to the court after taking an oath. In Massachusetts, acts of perjury are punishable by up to twenty years in state prison or up to 2.5 years in jail. You can also face a fine of up to $1000. The ruling judge may decide on the fine or the imprisonment, or may go for both.

Your ex-partner also faces penalty meted out by the judge presiding over your divorce case. The judge may not act on it, but they often do. For example, the judge may order your ex-partner to pay for your legal expenses. It is also common for a judge to award some or all of the recovered assets to the other partner. On a whole, attempts to hide assets are not worth it.