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Are there legal consequences for hiding assets?

On Behalf of | Oct 10, 2022 | Divorce, Family Law |

If you are going through a divorce, you may be thankful to know that both spouses have an equal ownership interest in marital assets. According to Wisconsin law, while there are exceptions, you and your spouse should end up with a roughly equal share of everything you jointly own.

To try to get more, your spouse might hide assets from you and the court until your divorce concludes. Doing so is not advisable, however. After all, there are some very serious consequences for hiding assets in the lead-up to any Wisconsin divorce.

Court consequences

To divide marital property properly, judges need to know what assets and debts exist. Therefore, you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse must each complete certain financial disclosures. If your spouse is not truthful on these court forms, a judge may decide to hold him or her in contempt of court.

Criminal consequences

Sometimes when trying to hide assets, deceptive spouses break the law. If your husband or wife commits perjury, fraud, theft or any other offense, he or she may face criminal prosecution. Depending on the charges and other factors, a criminal prosecution could turn into hefty fines, jail time or both.

Financial consequences

It is difficult to get away with hiding assets, as the honest spouse’s legal team knows how to find missing wealth. If your spouse hides something, a judge is likely to give it or its value to you. Furthermore, a judge may require your spouse to reimburse you for any expenses you incurred trying to find the missing assets.

Ultimately, because of the serious consequences that come with trying to hide assets, your spouse would be wise to be forthcoming with you and with the court.

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