Once a couple has decided to seek a divorce, they must fill out a financial affidavit. The financial affidavit is a formal document presented to the court in the beginning stages of a divorce to ascertain the assets owned in a marriage and by each spouse separately. The document is used to assess each spouse’s financial situation in order to make informed decisions about property division, alimony, and other key divorce aspects. It is extremely important that your financial affidavit be accurate and precise. Any errors, whether accidental or otherwise, could result in serious repercussions.
The Importance of Claiming Your Assets
If you are seeking a divorce through litigation, the court will need to be informed of your financial situation before any serious decisions can be made. Major divorce decisions, such as property division, spousal support, and child support will all be dependent upon the finances of each spouse. The financial affidavit will include information about each spouse’s income, properties, debts, expenses, and other assets. Once presented to the court, the document will be signed under oath to verify that all information stated in the document is true. If the document is in any way incorrect, the signer could be penalized.
If you have made an error on your financial affidavit, you can make an amendment to your financial documents. Sometimes mistakes happen, and courts often understand how sorting through your finances can lead to slight errors. Whether you resorted to guesswork or you claimed an incorrect amount, you can ask the court to make such revisions by making an amendment to the financial affidavit.
It can be very tempting to omit certain assets or accounts you know your spouse does not know of. Certain assets might have belonged to you since before your marriage, and it can be very tempting to hide those assets from the court in order to protect them. However, making intentional omissions is very dangerous. By lying on a court document, you risk delaying your case, and you might face legal repercussions.
A financial affidavit is a court document and is regarded with equal gravity to that of a court statement. Therefore, lying on a financial document presented to the court is equivalent to lying under oath, and is illegal. When you lie about your finances in your divorce, the consequences are in the hands of the judge overseeing your case. If the judge is lenient, you may only receive a stern reprimand. However, if the omission was more serious and the judge less forgiving, you could be found guilty of perjury. Perjury is a criminal offense and can result in costly fines and potentially time in jail.
More often than not, the judge will choose to punish those who lie on their financial affidavit by awarding more assets to the other spouse. The judge may simply lean more favorably toward your spouse, or they could decide to award your spouse the assets you attempted to hide. In any case, the punishment is up to the judge.
Contact Smith Law Offices, LLC to discuss your case with our experienced divorce attorneys.