What Can I Do If My Spouse Lies About His or Her Income?

Each spouse’s income plays a large role in many aspects of a divorce, including child custody, child support payments, alimony, and division of assets. If your spouse is lying about his or her income, it’s crucial to know what to do about it to ensure an equitable divorce. Surprisingly, it is very common for divorcing spouses to lie about income in family law proceedings. They may decide to do this to avoid paying child support or alimony, but the consequences for lying to the court are severe.

Divorce Proceedings Are Sworn Testimony

During your family law depositions, the opposing attorney will ask questions about your life, your marriage, the reasons for your divorce, issues you and your soon-to-be ex had, your children, your finances, and countless other possible subjects. A deposition is exactly like sworn testimony given in court, so lying under oath is just as serious in a deposition as it is on the witness stand.

Each party in a divorce proceeding has an obligation to tell the truth, even it comes at his or her own detriment. If one spouse decides to lie about income or financial assets, the judge handling the case may decide to punish him or her by forcing more alimony or child support than originally decreed or surrendering some assets to the other spouse. Lying about assets or income may also void a prenuptial agreement and the lying spouse would lose the assets and protections listed in the prenuptial agreement. If a person continually lies under oath, he or she may also face criminal charges for perjury.

How Do I Prove My Ex Is Lying?

If your ex has lied about his or her income or financial assets, speak with your attorney immediately about your concerns. Your attorney has several legal avenues available for uncovering the truth. These may include subpoenas for your ex’s pay stubs, bank statements, credit card statements, or tax returns. Your attorney may also submit a request for sworn testimony from your ex about his or her financial assets. If your ex refuses to honor these requests, he or she will likely face contempt of court.

If depositions or other options for uncovering the truth prove fruitless, you may have the option of hiring a private investigator or financial auditor to uncover important evidence. While these steps may seem extreme, it’s important to remember that uncovering the truth in divorce proceedings is important, especially if children are involved. Your ex’s untruthfulness could impact the child support payments you receive, which will hurt the kids.

California Laws for Financial Disclosure in Family Law

California state law takes financial disclosure in family law seriously. If you can prove your ex lied about his or her income and financial situation to avoid paying alimony or child support, you may have a case against him or her for breach of fiduciary duty. If you take legal action against him or her, you can collect compensation for the assets and financial support you should have received.

If you feel tempted to lie about your income or hide financial assets in a divorce, remember that the penalties for doing so are significant. It is likely you will not only have to pay what you actually owe to your ex, but you may also face fines and criminal charges for lying under oath, hiding subpoenaed evidence, or otherwise obfuscating your true financial status during the divorce. If you have questions about what you need to disclose in a divorce, make sure to work closely with your divorce attorney so you don’t inadvertently leave anything out that can come back to haunt you.