Nassau County Family Law Blog

Friday, August 14, 2015

Divorce Litigant Goes to Great Lengths to Prove Forgery in Divorce Trial

What happens if a party to a divorce proceeding lies about his or her assets or debts?

One of the most important components of the divorce process is the division of marital property, assets, and debts. When couples decide to dissolve their marriage, they must also give careful thought to how to divide the value of their home, and joint accounts, as well as how to properly divide debts –- which may or may not be eligible for refinancing. 
In light of these divorce milestones, parties are bound by law to be 100 percent forthcoming in disclosing their assets and debts at the outset of the proceedings or risk facing serious legal consequences, including civil contempt. Likewise, lying on a court document or committing perjury to the trial court judge is considered a serious crime that could result in jail time and hefty criminal fines. For these reasons, parties are best advised to avoid the temptation to inflate or underreport financial information. 

In one recent New York divorce case, a divorce attorney resorted to handing the court an old fashioned magnifying glass to highlight the presence of alleged forgery on the opponent’s financial statement. During the maneuver, counsel for one spouse asked the other to closely examine the documents and to testify whether a Whiteout product had been used to alter the page numbers of bank statements. More specifically, the spouse alleged that her ex had submitted bank statements showing only withdrawals, not deposits, and altered the page numbers of the statements to make the packet look complete and legitimate. Overall, the former media executive claimed that he was flat broke and unable to continue the $16,000 per month alimony and child support payments ordered by the original divorce order. 

Citing poor eyesight, the witness/spouse asserted he was unable to testify as to any of the information contained in the documents. The spouse also testified that he has been unable to maintain gainful employment after serving 20 days in jail in 2014 – a sentence which was imposed after the court found he had similarly lied under oath during a separate proceeding. 

If you are facing a difficult situation and would like to discuss your options with an experienced and knowledgeable New York divorce attorney, please contact Howard B. Leff, P.C. today: (516)739-7500. 


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