One thing that some people make the mistake of doing is hiding their assets during divorce. They may think that they’re going to come out on top by doing this, but if the judge finds out that you’ve lied, you could be in deep trouble and have your reputation ruined.

It is illegal to hide assets during a divorce. In California, all marital assets are to be divided equally among spouses. If you get caught, you could face fines and other penalties for violating the law.

What are some consequences of hiding your assets during a divorce?

If you lie when under oath, you face serious consequences. Penalties do vary, but knowingly violating the law could result in a judge:

  • Ordering you to pay for your ex-spouse’s attorney fees
  • Ordering you to pay fines
  • Deciding jail time is an acceptable solution

Hiding your assets isn’t worth the trouble that could be caused if you’re found out. Instead, it’s best to talk to your attorney about ways to reduce the number of assets included in your marital assets.

How can you limit your marital assets?

One thing to do is to look at who purchased what during your marriage. Look at how those assets were used and how they were purchased. For example, if you have an inheritance and purchase a vehicle for yourself, the likelihood is that your vehicle will not be included in your marital estate. On the other hand, if you receive an inheritance and shift it all into your joint bank account, then your spouse is likely to be entitled to half.

Do you have to split your assets equally during divorce?

Splitting your assets equally is standard in California thanks to community property laws. However, if you and your spouse can sit down and decide on a way to split your property that you both believe is fair, then you can do that as well. A judge will still need to approve any decision you both make, but most will as long as you’re both happy with the resolution.

Additionally, if you have a pre- or postnuptial agreement, this can be applied instead of community property laws. Most attorneys suggest maintaining a pre- or postnuptial agreement to make divorce faster and less contentious, but if you don’t have one, that also isn’t a problem.

Remember, hiding assets won’t solve any issues, and doing so could make your divorce more complicated. Discuss ways to protect your assets legally with your attorney and avoid risky ventures.