If you suspect your husband is lying during your divorce settlement, it is critical to disprove his statements, since your husband’s lies could significantly decrease your settlement, affect child custody, or damage your reputation. An experienced divorce attorney will be able to advise you on all legal means available to prove his deception.
Lying under oath, whether in court or in signed affidavits, is a serious offense and can carry civil and criminal penalties. A judge has discretion regarding how to punish lying. For example, depending on the severity of the perjury, he or she could require your lying husband to pay your legal fees, increase your settlement, award you sole custody, or apply criminal charges.
It is critical that you yourself do not lie. You must maintain integrity so there is a clear choice for the judge when your husband’s credibility is damaged by the exposure of his lies. Remember to always take the high road. Remain calm during meetings and court proceedings as well as on social media or email. It is best not to comment at all about your spouse publicly, especially online.
Lying about finances
Unfortunately, lying about one’s finances is fairly common in divorce proceedings, but it can also be somewhat easy to prove with the right documentation. The difficulty is recognizing the different ways money can be hidden. Review our blog post, What if Your Ex Hid Money During the Divorce, for the many subtle ways money can be hidden. You can provide evidence that your husband is hiding assets in many different ways:
- Bank, investment, and retirement account statements
- Income tax returns
- Household bills
- Credit card statements
It is possible your husband has income streams of which you are unaware. Your attorney may recommend you enlist the service of a financial auditor to dig deeply into your husband’s financial matters.
Lying about you or your relationship
Character assassination is taken seriously by the courts, and your lawyer will know what legal recourse can be taken to stop the intentional damage to your reputation. Although it is uncommon for a husband to accuse a wife of physical abuse, emotional abuse could be alleged. In addition, your husband could lie about having another relationship or might accuse you of infidelity. Whatever the lies, take these steps to disprove them:
- Keep copies of social media posts and emails that support your position.
- Maintain a log of conversations, situations, or events, including dates and times, describing the events and keeping track of quotes to the best of your ability. Indicate if it is a direct quote or a paraphrase.
- Collect witnesses to the events in question who will sign affidavits supporting your position.
- Find character witnesses who can speak for your character as well as your husband’s.
You may need to secure the help of a private investigator to follow your spouse and collect more information.
Lying about children
As with lies about you, lies about the children or the husband’s involvement in child-rearing are best proven with logs, pictures, social media posts, and witnesses who can give evidence to the level of involvement he had with the children, his behavior toward them, and yours. You may also be able to provide documentation from the schools regarding who attended parent-teacher meetings, who picked the children up or dropped them off, and whose signature was on checks. See our blog post, Obtaining Sole Custody in PA, for additional information.
One final note, if you want to try to “catch” your spouse lying it is critical to talk with our office immediately, especially if you believe you can record them (over the phone or in person) in the lie. Pennsylvania law has serious wiretapping laws that require consent if either the recorder or any other parties are in the state when the recording is occurring. If you record your ex, for any reason, you could face very steep penalties without that consent.
Whatever the type of lie, your experienced divorce attorney can subpoena records, request gag orders, and schedule depositions for your husband or his witnesses under oath, in order to uncover any inconsistencies or deceptions in your husband’s statements. At Karen A. Ulmer, P.C., we know how to protect our clients and hold lying spouses accountable. Contact us today to see how we can help you.