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Divorce proceeding leads to civil contempt

When a divorce is amicable, everyone involved is much better off. However, when there are allegations of hiding assets, it's generally the person the assets are hidden from who suffers. In New York, the Court of Appeals has ruled that a man is in civil contempt after he reportedly hid the money from a property sale from his ex-wife.

A court order -- now five years old -- instructing the man to tell the court what he did with the money from the sale is what the man has allegedly failed to comply with. The Court of Appeals in New York said that the man hasn't submitted the proper evidence that he couldn't pay his ex the settlement funds she is due from the sale of the property.

The court did acknowledge that the man does have a right not to incriminate himself as to what he did with the money. However, it said that he did have to provide "adequate evidence of his financial inability to comply." The man's attorney argued that it is not up to the man to prove he has no money -- it is up to other to prove he does.

Civil contempt is different from criminal contempt in that it aims to restore the rights of the party who was wronged by a person's failure to obey the court order. Criminal contempt aims to punish the act of being in contempt.

If you believe that your soon-to-be ex-spouse is hiding assets, you will need to move quickly. An experienced divorce attorney can provide you with additional information on how hidden assets may be found.

Source: SF Gate, "NY divorcing husband, silent about money, found in contempt," Joel Stashenko, Oct. 20, 2015

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