New Jersey couples like you already have enough on your plate when handling a divorce. Any time someone does something to complicate matters further, it costs you both time, money and peace of mind.

Knowing this does not stop some people from making poor choices, though. Attempting to hide assets during the divorce process is one of those bad choices.

What is a financial affidavit?

Forbes mentions that everyone in a contested divorce must sign a financial affidavit. In fact, even in some uncontested divorces, you must sign this document. So what is this? A financial affidavit acts as a document that proves you are telling the truth about your money to the best of your ability. If you make an honest mistake, it is not held against you.

But what if you misreport things on purpose? This is where trouble may start brewing. If an ex-spouse lies about their finances intentionally after signing an affidavit, this is an act of perjury. They are acting in contempt of the court, and this can come with serious penalties.

What are the penalties for hiding assets?

First, the accused may end up incarcerated. They can also face fines and fees for their crime if convicted. On top of that, the judge overseeing your case can decide individual punishments for the attempt to hide assets. These penalties can vary depending on the judge in question. In one case, a judge ordered a person caught hiding assets to cover all of their ex-spouse’s attorney and court fees. In another, the judge ordered all found assets to go to the ex-spouse they got hidden from. With penalties like this, it is naturally best to err on the side of caution.