Divorce is one of the most draining experiences you can ever go through. Besides the emotional stress and pain, the financial implications of a divorce can also be taxing.
Property division is usually one of the most contentious issues during the divorce process. It is not unusual for one or both parties in the divorce to withhold some of the assets during divorce. After all, about 50 percent of adult Americans report hiding money from their spouses.
California is a community property state
Legally speaking, this means that the two parties in the marriage or registered domestic partnership are considered as one legal “community.” As such, any property or debt acquired by the couple during the marriage or partnership is treated as community property or debt and must (theoretically) be split on a 50-50 basis during the divorce.
Consequences of withholding assets during divorce
During the divorce process, both parties are required by law to file a financial affidavit disclosing all their assets and liabilities. By signing the financial affidavit, you are declaring under oath that you have done everything you can to disclose all of your finances.
Under California law, you can be charged with perjury if you willfully provide false information under oath. If you can found guilty of perjury, you can serve time in jail or pay a fine.
The court may also direct you to pay the forensic and legal fees associated with discovering hidden assets. Remember, the court has powers to determine how assets will be divided during divorce. Repeat dishonesty about your finances can prompt the court to award the other party a greater chunk of the marital assets.
Accurate disclosure of marital assets and debts is an important part of the divorce process. If you suspect that your future ex is not being forthright about their asset declaration, you may consider seeking professional guidance.