Potential Legal Consequences of Hiding Assets During Divorce in New Jersey
At the commencement of a divorce in New Jersey, the parties are required to make a disclosure of assets to the court (and each other) under penalty of perjury. Unfortunately, there are instances in cases involving divorce in New Jersey in which a party to the proceedings attempts to conceal or hide assets. The reality is that there exist potentially serious legal consequences in a situation in which a party to a divorce proceeding attempts to hide assets. We take a moment to discuss some of these potential consequences:
- Financial penalties
- Loss of credibility
- Unequal distribution
- Contempt of court
- Criminal charges
One of the most significant legal consequences of attempting to hide assets in a divorce in New Jersey is the imposition of financial penalties. The court has the authority to impose fines on the party who engaged in asset concealment. These fines can vary depending on the severity and extent of the concealment, as well as the value of the hidden assets. In addition to fines, the court may also order the party to pay the legal fees of the other spouse, further increasing the financial burden.Loss of Credibility
Hiding assets can have a detrimental effect on the credibility of the party involved. The stark reality is that a loss of credibility can result in legal ramifications as well. When one spouse attempts to conceal assets, it raises doubts about their honesty, integrity, and overall trustworthiness in the eyes of the court. This loss of credibility can significantly impact the court's decisions on various aspects of the divorce, such as property division, spousal support, and child custody. The party attempting to hide assets may find it challenging to convince the court of their credibility, leading to unfavorable outcomes in the divorce proceedings.Unequal Distribution
If hidden assets are discovered during the divorce proceedings, the court has the power to adjust the distribution of marital property to ensure a fair and equitable division. The party attempting to hide assets may face consequences such as receiving a smaller share of the marital property or facing other unfavorable distribution outcomes. The court may also take into account the attempt to hide assets when determining the division of other assets, such as retirement accounts, investments, or valuable possessions. Consequently, the financial outcome of the divorce can be significantly affected, potentially jeopardizing the future financial security of both parties involved.Contempt of Court
Deliberately hiding assets during a divorce is considered contempt of court, which is a serious offense. By engaging in such behavior, the party is showing a disregard for the authority and integrity of the court. As a result, the court may impose sanctions or other penalties to hold the offending party accountable for their actions. These penalties can range from fines to more severe consequences, depending on the severity of the contempt. In some cases, the court may require the party to attend counseling, complete community service, or even face imprisonment. Contempt of court not only has legal ramifications but can also tarnish the party's reputation within the legal system and among their community.Criminal Charges
In extreme cases of asset concealment during a divorce in New Jersey, it can lead to criminal charges being filed against the offending party. These charges may include fraud or perjury, both of which carry heavy legal consequences. If found guilty, the party may face substantial fines, imprisonment, or a combination of both, depending on the severity of the offense committed. Criminal charges can have long-lasting effects, including a permanent criminal record, which can negatively impact future employment opportunities, personal reputation, and even relationships.
It is essential to remember that each divorce case is unique, and the specific legal consequences of hiding assets may vary depending on the circumstances and the discretion of the court. To fully understand the potential legal consequences and to receive personalized legal advice, it is highly recommended to consult with a qualified attorney specializing in family law and divorce proceedings. An experienced attorney can provide guidance based on the specific details of your case and help navigate the legal complexities involved in asset division during a divorce. If you have any questions concerning a New Jersey divorce, call us today at 201-845-7400 for a free consultation.