Does your spouse have to tell the truth in divorce court?

You and your spouse are, to put it lightly, not on good terms as you head toward divorce. You know that you’re supposed to tell the truth when dividing up custody time or splitting assets, but do they have to uphold that standard? Or could they lie in order to get their way?

There is a risk

It’s often said that you cannot lie in court or that you cannot lie under oath, and this is true, but people are generally referring to criminal court. Lying in a criminal case and committing perjury can have legal ramifications of its own.

Technically, you’re not supposed to lie in civil court, either, but the ramifications are much less dire and there is a greater limit on what the court can do. Therefore, the best option is often combating those lies with evidence of the truth and showing them to be what they are: inaccurate statements intentionally made.

Offering real evidence

If your spouse does lie, it could impact the outcome of the case in certain ways. For example, maybe you’re seeking sole custody of the child because your spouse abuses prescription medications. They lie about it and say that they don’t, but you then produce records or evidence showing that this behavior has happened in the past. The judge is not going to view the drug use or the lying about it favorably, and that can help your position as you seek custody.

You have to be ready for the fact that your spouse may lie. Preparing in advance can often put you in a good position to make sure that the truth gets into court. Are they going to lie about assets to hide them from you? Are they going to lie about the reasons for the divorce? Even if they don’t lie outright, are they going to stretch or distort the truth?

The more evidence you have on your side, the better. Gather all of the documentation that you can before you get to court: bank statements, tax returns, police reports, copies of email messages and text messages, and much more. Any time you think that both sides may have a different story, attack the issue head-on by making sure your honest account is backed up by facts, key details and indisputable evidence.

Understanding your options

In a contentious case like this, make sure you understand exactly what options you have. You and an experienced legal team can be ready for any hurdles you encounter.

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