Divorce Frequently Asked Questions

1. The penalty for hiding assets in the divorce?

Hiding assets can result in significant repercussions in divorce. First, and perhaps most importantly, it likely kills the guilty party’s credibility with the court. If there are any issues that are brought before the judge on which credibility is an issue, that person is at a severe disadvantage. Also, regardless of any other issues, the judge has the authority to order a disproportionate division of assets and has some discretion on alimony and child support payments. The party hiding assets may suffer consequences in those areas. Finally, the judge may penalize the guilty party by ordering that party to pay some of the other party’s attorney’s fees. Not worth it.

2. Hidden assets in a divorce are they discoverable?

Yes. However, depending on the nature of the hidden assets and how long ago they were hidden, it may be difficult. In a divorce, the parties may conduct “discovery” to gain information from the other side. This includes asking them questions under oath either in written form or by questioning them at a deposition. In addition, either by subpoena or by requests directly to the other party, the parties may also request from each other documents that may provide evidence of hidden assets. However, if a party is hiding cash, or using money orders or bank checks, the information is much more difficult to discover.

3. Am I responsible for my domestic partner’s medical bills?

Maybe. All debt accumulated during the marriage may be included as joint debt for purposes of division of assets and debts in a divorce. Whether the judge actually transfers responsibility for medical debt to the other party depends on a number of factors, including how the property and the rest of the debts are divided, the alimony order, among other factors.

4. If a car is registered in my name is it legally mine after divorce?

Yes. However, whether you’re actually keeping the car depends on the terms of the divorce, which allocates the property between the parties. Parties typically keep the cars in their respective names after divorce. But if the court judge orders that the other party gets your car, then you must transfer it.

5. Do I have to go to court for an uncontested divorce?

It depends. Generally yes, but in some cases, no. In an uncontested divorce, the parties must file their documents in advance and are then scheduled for an uncontested hearing at which they must appear to finalize the divorce. The exception is that either party may request that the court waive their presence for that proceeding. Typically, this happens when one of the parties lives out of state and attending the hearing would cause a hardship. To make the request, the party must file a motion and affidavit with the court requesting permission to not attend the hearing.

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