To divide assets, the court must know what you own. This is why you’re legally required to make statements disclosing what assets you have. Hiding assets is illegal, even though many people do attempt it.
But what if you simply forget some of your assets? Say you have a savings account you forgot about or investments that you’ve held for years without adding to or removing anything. If you forget to disclose them, what happens?
The court may need to determine intent
Your intent can matter, as far as the penalties you’ll receive from the court. If they determine that you had no intent to mislead anyone and you just made a mistake during a stressful time, they may not impose strict penalties. That doesn’t mean nothing will happen, and you could even have to reopen a case that has been closed or readjust the formula for an ongoing case, but the court does understand that mistakes happen.
However, the problem is that many people try to hide assets, get caught, and then claim that they just forgot. Determining intent is so important because they have to decide if you’re lying to avoid these ramifications or if you’re telling the truth and trying to set things straight. Exactly how the error happened and who was involved may shed a lot of light on this side of the issue.
Avoiding mistakes in your divorce
The best solution, of course, is to avoid these crucial mistakes in the first place. The more you know about your legal options, the better, especially if you have never been through a divorce before.