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What Does it Mean to “Hide Assets” During a Divorce?

by Norris Law Group on July 22, 2014

What Does it Mean to “Hide Assets” During a Divorce?The previous installment of this blog discussed why married individuals may want to keep a separate—even “secret”—bank account to which their spouses don’t have access. Having such an account may be a good idea, especially in the event of a divorce. But it is also important to know the difference between keeping separate accounts and hiding marital assets in a divorce. Jeff Landers, a divorce financial planner and contributor to Forbes Magazine, explains what constitutes hiding assets (which is illegal).

Landers says that actions that could be considered to be the hiding of marital assets include:

  • “[Hiding, understating, or undervaluing] certain marital property;
  • [Overstating] debts;
  • [Reporting] lower than actual income, or
  • [Reporting] higher than actual expenses.”

Landers reiterates that the practice of hiding assets is absolutely illegal, as is telling any sort of lie during a divorce proceeding. But although this is the case, Landers also includes survey data from the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE), which show that:

  • “[58 % of respondents ]said they hid cash from their partner or spouse;
  • [54%] hid a minor purchase from their partner or spouse;
  • [30%] hid a statement or a bill from their partner or spouse; and
  • [34%] admitted they lied about finances, debt, [or] money earned.”

Parties involved in a divorce proceeding are expected to tell the truth at all times. If it is discovered that one or both spouses is hiding assets, the “guilty parties” may be subjected to penalties, found in contempt of court, or even incarcerated. Landers is clear: do not attempt to hide assets as part of a divorce.

Attorney Graham Norris and his associates at the Norris Law Group serve the residents of Utah County and throughout Utah in the area of family law, including prenuptial agreements. Contact them today at 801-932-1238 or online for a free consultation.

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