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Concealing your assets or hiding your income during a divorce

Are you seeking a divorce? Did your spouse openly hide their income and assets in order to reduce the alimony and child support payments that they owe you? What can you do to counter these techniques?

Divorce: what are the risks of hiding your assets and income?

Methods used to conceal one’s income before a divorce

The amount of the alimony or the compensatory allowance during a divorce is determined according to your resources. In order to reduce the bill, it is possible that your spouse uses means to hide their income, most often fraudulently.

During the divorce, in order to determine the amount of the compensatory allowance, your spouse must provide a declaration certifying on their honor the accuracy of their resources, their assets and their living conditions.

Thus, to hide their income or their assets, the ex-spouses have recourse to different techniques either by reducing their resources or by creating debts:

  • Taking out real or fictitious loans from third parties.
  • Making donations, in particular a usufruct donation to a relative while keeping the use of the property.
  • Minimizing the value of an asset: for example, by making a fictitious loan-for-use contract (commodat) consisting of lending the free use of an asset to a relative while retaining the use of the asset.
  • Contributing movable or immovable property to a company, granting the majority of the capital to a trusted person while providing in the articles of association a double voting right for the minority shareholder and granting the minority shareholder the management of the company.
  • Destroying one’s personal assets.
  • Causing the early repayment of one’s loans before the divorce.
  • Delaying voluntarily the collection of income
  • Concealing salaries by not declaring all income.
  • Delaying the payment of dividends
  • Transferring money to foreign accounts
  • Moving without providing a new address.
  • Making a fictitious contract of sale of one’s assets to a third party.
  • Using nominees.
  • Making numerous expenditures prior to your divorce.
  • Buying property that can easily be underestimated in a statement of resources (historical monument, collection piece, paintings).
  • Creating conventional joint possessions on a building with friends.

Organizing one’s insolvency presents many risks.

If your spouse hides their income and assets, what should you do?

You have not yet divorced and you know that your spouse is hiding income?

If your spouse hides their income before the divorce, in reality they are organizing or aggravating their insolvency. This behavior is criminally reprehensible: it is the offence of fraudulent organization of insolvency.  The fact that your ex-spouse fraudulently organizes or aggravates their insolvency is punishable by three years of imprisonment and a fine of 45 000 €. Referring the matter to the Public Prosecutor can dissuade them from hiding their income.

If your spouse has organized their insolvency in order to reduce the amount of the compensatory allowance or the alimony that they should be paying you, the use of the criminal procedure allows you to scare them and to stop this desire to conceal. This criminal procedure is recommended as long as the divorce judgment has not been pronounced.

On the other hand, if you have already been divorced, it does not seem systematically appropriate to use the criminal route to counter this technique. Indeed, having them convicted will be a very long procedure, it will be necessary to seize the Public Prosecutor, and the investigation will take a lot of time.

If you have already been divorced, we advise you to obtain a review of your divorce judgment for fraud.

You have already been divorced and you know that your spouse has concealed their income?

If you have already been divorced, and you subsequently learn that your spouse has hidden income or assets, you can get the judge to reverse the decision. This is called a ” recours en révision ” on the amount of the compensatory allowance or alimony.

By requesting a review of the divorce judgment, you do not question the very principle of having divorced, your divorce remains acquired because legally the financial consequences are dissociable from the pronouncement of the divorce.

The recours en révision makes it possible to call into question a decision of justice which was based on declarations or fraudulent facts. Your spouse’s concealment of income is an act of fraud.

How do you file for a review of your divorce decree?

You will ask the family court judge who decided your divorce to review the judgment because your ex-spouse acted fraudulently.

The time limit for filing an application for review is 2 months from the day the applicant for review became aware of the cause of review that they are claiming. Therefore, as soon as you obtain evidence that your ex-spouse has concealed their income or assets, you should act very quickly and request a review of the judgment within two months.

How can you prove that your spouse has concealed their earnings?

This is the most difficult part of the case: proving that your spouse is hiding income. Except that having taken the trouble to hide them, it is difficult for you to prove something that is hidden. It is important to be methodical and to check all the elements of their assets. First of all, you can obtain certificates from friends and acquaintances who will attest of the reality of your spouse’s assets. If you know that they are working without declaring their income, you can report them to the URSAFF or to the labor inspectorate.

It is advisable to check the existence of any companies belonging to him in the “Registre du commerce et des sociétés”. Call in a bailiff to draw up a report proving that they use several cars, or to draw up a list of their known addresses.

Your ex-spouse is hiding their income and assets with the sole purpose of not paying the alimony or compensatory allowance they owe you? Act quickly by contacting an AGN lawyer in your area, who will find ways to counter the deceitful practices used by your ex-spouse. They will obtain for you the alimony and compensatory allowance that are rightfully owed to you!

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