Fraud can happen in a wide variety of circumstances and divorce is no different. Courts depend upon information provided by each spouse in order to issue final judgments on issues such as child support, child custody, spousal support, and equitable division of property and debts. If one spouse provides false information in an attempt to manipulate the divorce outcome, he or she can be held liable for fraud. In other situations, an individual may falsify whole documents including settlement agreements or court orders. If any type of fraud is suspected in a divorce, it is important to discuss your legal rights and options with a qualified family law attorney as soon as possible.
Examples of Divorce Fraud
The following scenarios are examples of ways that fraud can occur in a divorce:
- A spouse hides assets in offshore accounts or presents false account statements to the court so he or she does not have to give up an equitable portion of the assets.
- Two spouses agree on a particular division of property, however, before presenting the agreement to the court, one spouse changes the details of the agreement and forges the other’s signature.
In a recent case out of Florida, a woman allegedly falsified a court order granting a divorce and presented the order to her husband. However, she had never even filed a petition for divorce with the court in the first place. Instead, she simply wanted to use the false divorce documents so her husband could sell their house. Her husband believed they were divorced and sold the home. He then went to get files from the court regarding the divorce and realized that no case had been filed.
What Happens in Cases of Fraudulent Divorce?
In the above Florida case, the woman who fraudulently created the divorce order is facing criminal charges of counterfeiting a public record. In addition to potential criminal fraud charges, there can be liability on the civil side, as well. First, you can request that the court vacate the divorce order due to the fraud involved though you must present sufficient evidence of the fraud. Next, if you suffered any financial losses due to the fraud, you can seek recovery by filing an injury claim. These cases can be complicated, however, so it is always preferable to discover fraud in a divorce before a final order is ever issued.
If your spouse serves you with any type of divorce paperwork or claims to have filed for divorce, your very first call should be to a highly experienced divorce lawyer. An attorney will carefully review all documents and ensure that they are valid. In addition, before a final judgment is entered, a lawyer will review everything and make sure the order is a legally accurate representation of everything that you and your spouse agreed upon. A skilled divorce lawyer can also help to identify if your spouse is hiding assets or providing fraudulent information to get a more favorable outcome in the divorce.
Call a Boca Raton Divorce Attorney as Soon as Possible
Divorce attorney Alan R. Burton has been helping clients with divorce in Florida for decades and understands the red flags that may indicate fraud. Please call our office for a free consultation at 954-229-1660 today.