Unfortunately, divorce can be a very difficult affair that sometimes brings out the worst in people. One of the ways this happens is when one spouse attempts to hide their assets. There are many reasons why someone would keep certain assets hidden. They may simply want to hide money, or they could be trying to protect certain property that they do not want to risk losing. Though it may not be a criminal offense, hiding assets in a divorce in Florida can still lead to serious legal consequences.
What Are the Consequences for Hiding Assets in a Divorce?
The state of Florida practices equitable division of assets in the cases of divorce. However, this does not always mean an even 50/50 split. In some cases, the court may rule in favor of one spouse receiving more than the other. If the court finds that your spouse has been hiding assets, they will face various penalties, including:
1. Reallocation of Assets
You may be rewarded with a larger portion of your marital assets as compensation for a spouse hiding assets. In a divorce in Florida, both spouses can provide evidence as to why they should receive more assets. If your spouse is found to be hiding assets, they may also be asked to cover your legal fees. They may even be asked to cover any costs if you hired a private investigator.
2. Contempt of Court
Contempt of court is an act intended to obstruct or defy a court during the administration of justice. Hiding assets in a divorce in Florida is often considered to be such an act. Judges have the power to determine whether the perpetrator is guilty of either criminal or civil contempt. It is more likely for the judge to find them in civil contempt, however. Still, both of these are very serious and can lead to fines and jail time.
3. Perjury Charges
If your spouse lies about any assets, they may be charged with perjury. It can lead to a misdemeanor charge, fines, and imprisonment. Your spouse may also be charged if they attempt to intentionally mislead the court while trying to hide assets.
How can You Protect Yourself in a Divorce in Florida?
It can be difficult to prove that your spouse has any hidden assets. It can also be tiring to go through the whole process of retrieving them. However, there are precautions you can take to prevent this from happening.
Ideally, you should keep track of all assets, liabilities, and money flow from the beginning of your marriage. However, you might be too late for an offensive approach. In this case, you should look for signs of a change in your finances. Look for sudden decreases in income, missing bank statements, or a sudden change in behavior. Working with attorneys who specialize in divorce in Florida will also help guide you through the process.
Call Parker & DuFresne for Expert Help
Dealing with a divorce is complicated and difficult enough. A sneaky spouse trying to dupe you out of what is rightfully yours can make it even worse. Contact the expert attorneys at Parker & DuFresne in Jacksonville. We will help you receive the fair treatment you deserve.