In an ideal world, everyone would be truthful all the time. Unfortunately, this isn’t the world we live in, and lying is all too common–especially during a divorce. Even the more civil divorces can involve dishonesty, as emotions run high when it comes to personal finances and family matters. If you are divorcing and your spouse is not being entirely honest in some or all areas of the divorce, here’s what you need to know.
Dishonesty Over Income
Many spouses who are not honest about their income are self-employed, and for obvious reasons: a wage-earner has to turn in pay stubs to the attorneys involved and the court and therefore has a hard time hiding income. Self-employed people do not have paystubs, so there are simply more opportunities to muddle the truth.
If you believe your spouse is lying about income, be sure to let your family law attorney know right away. In addition, you can take a close look at any financial documents you have regarding your spouse’s business income and dealings to look for red flags and use the help of an outside expert–such as a forensic accountant–if necessary. Your attorney should have a network of experts available if required in your case.
Lying About Assets
In a divorce, the two most common ways to obscure the truth about an asset is to lie about its existence or its value. The former is usually when someone hides an asset so it doesn’t become part of the property division in the divorce. Sometimes, these assets are easy to hide–a house, for example, is pretty hard to conceal, whereas a secret bank account really isn’t. The latter involves devaluing a collection–such as art or coins–so it counts for less than it is worth in the property division. Devaluing an asset during the divorce allows a spouse to get more than they would have if the true value of the devalued asset was weighed in during the division.
As with a spouse not being upfront about income, you can work with your attorney and other professionals they have access to so you can find hidden or devalued assets. Your attorney will review financial documents, such as tax returns, to look for red flags and may bring in outside professionals–such as an appraiser–to determine the true value of any assets you think your spouse is undervaluing.
Untruthfulness in Custody or Parenting Time Matters
Lying, unfortunately, can take many forms in child custody and parenting time matters. Your spouse may accuse you of neglect or abuse or make other allegations in order to reduce your time with and legal rights regarding your kids. In these situations, the best course of action is to thoroughly prepare for the court proceedings. There is, of course, no guarantee the process in court will expose your spouse’s misconduct, but your attorney will work with you to help protect your kids and your rights.
On the other side, if your spouse has committed child abuse but is lying about it, you will need to explain this to your attorney. They will be able to help you address this serious issue so you and your children remain safe during and after the proceedings.
Dealing with a dishonest spouse in court can be very stressful and frustrating, no matter what the issue is. If you are dealing with a dishonest spouse in your divorce, speak to your family law attorney about the matter and work with them to expose the truth. With experienced legal help on your side, you have the chance to get the best possible outcome for your particular case.