A Family Law Solicitor deals with sensitive matters every day. One of them is divorce. It’s a depressing thought – that an estimate of 42% of marriages end up in divorce – but that’s a fact.
In divorce proceedings, couples have a legal obligation to divulge financial information and failure to do so could lead to imprisonment. Marium Razzaq has been practicing Family Law in Manchester for over a decade. And she speaks about how a family law solicitor will see dishonesty in divorce many times.
The divorce process starts with the filing of a divorce petition, which is completed by the Petitioner. A divorce petition form (D8) is filed at court and must set out the reason for the divorce, how you intend to deal with children and any arrangements for finances.
“It’s a legal obligation of all divorcing couples: each of them should transparently divulge all information about their assets, which includes income, property, assets, expenses and debt. Regrettably, though, you see family law can get complicated and it seems some people basically can’t resist the temptation to lie or cheat to keep at least a portion of those assets solely to themselves” says Marium Razzaq from JMR Solicitors in Manchester.
Some of the common ways they are dishonest are:
- Hide or undervalue marital property
- Exaggerate debts
- Put a property under a friend’s name
- Put down a lower actual income
- Report higher than actual expenses
In the end, a person who is hiding possessions is hopeful to keep more marital property for himself while thwarting the other from getting the fair settlement they are entitled to.
Marium mentions: “recently, in the news, I had read of prison sentences for those who do not follow divorce settlements in a legal manner – you must remember there are stricter penalties for parties who disobey judicially mandated divorce settlements. Previously, such penalties have been merely financial.
Family Law solicitor says: Lying during divorce proceedings is illegal
If one of the divorcing couple lies about their assets the courts have extensive powers to ensure that there is full financial disclosure and that the assets are well-preserved. If one of you is found to have hidden an asset then the courts take that very seriously. The person doing it can be reprimanded, for example by being ordered to pay the other side’s legal costs, or by being given a less sympathetic settlement.
If it is found out later that you or your partner did not disclose all of the assets, the court can re-open the financial case and make a different order. But, make no mistake about it, our family law solicitor says: “Lying during divorce proceedings is illegal”.