Divorce lawyers of the BR Family Law (https://www.brfamilylaw.co.au/) firm in Perth, Western Australia, warn clients about hiding financial assets during marriage; especially when an application for divorce has already been filed with the Family Court. Purchasing precious metals for one, is among the most common methods used in stashing away conjugal funds.

In Australia, hiding finances by transferring funds to a third party account or by using marital funds to buy cryptocurrencies or precious metals like gold can lead to serious consequences. The Family Court of Australia is inclined to meticulously scrutinise these types of purchases since the amounts involved arDivorcing couplee considerably high .The Court’s purpose is to make sure all values related to such purchases are included in the list of marital assets that will be divided and distributed equitably between the divorcing couple.

Legal and Financial Consequences of Hiding Marital Assets in Australia

After a couple has applied for a divorce in Australia, the separating couple whether joined by marriage or in a de facto relationship, will have to work on the Property Settlement Proceeding with the help of their individual divorce lawyer/s.

The related document will be submitted for evaluation and scrutiny of the Family Court. If the presiding magistrates find no fault and at the same time deem the division fair and just, the Court will approve the Property Settlement accordingly.

Storing assets by transferring their value into a secret offshore account or converting them into valuable commodities like precious metals and not accounted as part of the marital estate, is tantamount to hiding them from the divorce proceedings. Such actions, if discovered can lead to serious legal adversities and financial consequences.

Division of marital assetsIn the event that a spouse has been found to have deliberately excluded information about stashed assets; or failed to furnish information affecting the accuracy of the marital estate, the following are some of the possible legal problems that the spouse at fault will encounter:

Re-Evaluation of Property Settlement – First off, the court will re-evaluate the Property Settlement Agreement submitted for approval if a spouse has been proven to have deliberately excluded or hid marital assets from the property settlement proceedings. While the re-evaluation will put the value of the property in a more accurate light, the deceitful spouse will likely receive a less favourable share of the conjugal estate as punishment.

Payment of Fines and Penalties – Hiding conjugal assets from property settlement proceedings is regarded as a contempt of court act that calls for the imposition of several types of fines and penalties. If the act of hiding assets resulted in serious consequences, the Family Court might deem it necessary to order imprisonment as additional punishment.

Reimbursement of Additional Legal Costs Incurred by Disadvantaged Spouse – If as a result of the discovery of the false or withheld information, additional legal costs were incurred by the aggrieved spouse, the court will order the spouse at fault to reimburse him or her for the unnecessary legal costs related to the property settlement proceedings.

Reversal of Premature Property Disposal
Premature disposal or transfer of assets as a way to avoid legal property settlement is also considered a method of hiding assets. The act is legally termed as “waiting asset” or “asset dissipation”, which under Australia’s Family Act has serious consequences including the following:

Reversal of asset dissipation transaction, since the Family Court has the power to nullify any asset dissipation transactions that aim to defeat the purpose of an equitable property settlement of divorce proceedings.

The Court can simply add back the value of the “wasted assets” to the entire value of the estate under divorce settlement proceedings. The partner who dissipated that asset will be obligated to pay the disadvantaged partner his or her share of the prematurely disposed assets.

Post Author: Jaida Rich