We noted what is almost a truism in family law in a blog post from earlier this autumn. We stated in our September 25 entry that marital partners “often work long and hard to accumulate wealth, and it is logical that they want to see it equitably distributed during the divorce process.”

That’s obvious, right? It just rings true for any person who has toiled over years to achieve financial stability and now wants to secure the benefits of that in a next-chapter phase of life.

What if an impending ex seeks to undermine that outcome by unlawfully concealing assets that should be identified, valued and equitably distributed between divorcing partners? If that can be proved, how is a court likely to respond to such behavior?

We can supply Arkansas readers of our family law blog at Robertson, Oswalt & Associates in Little Rock with a quick single-word answer to that: harshly.

Family law judges highly value fair play and disclosure in a divorce, especially when it comes to money matters. Financial infidelity is not simply unethical; it is unlawful and can subject an offender to civil and even criminal sanctions.

High-profile media stories sometimes bear that out, just as a tale from Minnesota recently did. A court in that state sentenced a defendant – a university professor and divorcing husband – to a multi-year probationary term and a four-month lock-up in a state workhouse. That individual was convicted on multiple felony and misdemeanor criminal counts linked with falsifying retirement accounts in order to short his wife in a marital asset distribution. His failure to scrupulously abide by all the court-ordered restrictions could land him in prison for several years.

There is unquestionably a moral to the story: Play fair concerning finances during the divorce process. If you don’t, the outcome will most assuredly be unpleasant.

And if you suspect as a divorcing spouse that your soon-to-be ex is hiding marital assets, contact a proven family law attorney with a deep well of experience in divorce-linked property division matters. Having seasoned legal counsel at your side can make a material difference where financial impropriety is spotlighted.