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Hiding assets in a Massachusetts divorce has serious consequences

When it comes to divorce in Massachusetts, while it can certainly be confusing, one easy to comprehend rule is that everything related to finances must be fully disclosed. This means every single asset -- purchased together or otherwise -- and every single debt -- again, together or otherwise -- is supposed to be listed by each spouse on the financial affidavit.

What this means is that if someone hides, understates or overstates assets, as well as any marital property, debt, income or expense, it is against the law. In some extreme cases, this can even lead to someone being sentenced to serve time in jail.

In past cases, hiding assets has also come back to really bite spouses. In one case, a woman who won more than $1 million in the lottery ended up having to turn her winnings over to her ex-husband. This was after she purposely hid the $1.3 million asset during the trial period of their divorce.

In other cases, judges have decided to have the spouse who hid the assets pay the other's attorney fees; and claims have also even been dismissed based on the fact that one spouse purposely violated the law.

In Massachusetts, when it comes to property division, it is an "equitable division" state. In basic terms, this means all assets and debts are identified, valued and divided. However, it does not mean everything is split right down the middle and argument can be made in court as to why and how certain assets should be divided.

Due to the fact that assets are not just split 50/50, it's imperative for anyone going through a divorce in Massachusetts to seek out legal representation.

Source: Forbes, "What Are the Consequences Of Hiding Assets During Divorce?" Jeff Landers, Nov. 14, 2012

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