Divorcing couples are calling each other “liars” in and outside of court on a daily basis. But what actually happens to a liar if he or she is lying in divorce proceedings in Utah?
Any divorce in Salt Lake City or elsewhere in Utah can be full of “he said she said” statements from the divorcing couples, especially those who are not represented by a Salt Lake City divorce attorney. And it is totally understandable considering the fact that divorce usually involves two adults who have grievances (or, in other words, hate each other’s guts). After all, they would not be divorcing if they were totally satisfied with their soon-former-spouse.
Not to mention that every person who is going through a divorce has his or her own side of the story, and it is not uncommon for divorcing couples to exaggerate and provide false statements in courts.
This lays the groundwork for people to lie in court and in divorce proceedings, hoping that (a) they will get away with it, and (b) they will strengthen their case. But what actually happens to a person who lies in an official divorce proceeding and gets caught? How does Utah law punish such behavior?
Punishment for lying in a divorce proceeding in Utah
If you are planning to lie in court in order to get a larger chunk of property division, do not. Seriously. Listen to what Salt Lake City divorce lawyer Emy A. Cordano, who has witnessed dozens of liars get caught red-handed for lying in court, is going to say about this.
Lying in an official divorce proceeding is not something you can get away with – unless, of course, facing a punishment of one to 15 years in prison and a possible fine of up to $10,000 would not be a major disappointment for you. Wait, what? $10k for lying in court? You read that right. Utah recognizes lying in an official proceeding as a second-degree felony, for which you are facing a prison sentence.
But that is not the end of the story. Our lawyers at the Emy A Cordano, Attorney At Law warn, however, that what you are going to read in a few seconds should not embolden you or encourage you to lie in court to be awarded a more favorable division of property or alimony settlement.
Utah courts can turn a blind eye to lying, but it is not that simple
In reality, Utah courts do not normally punish people who lie in divorce or family law proceedings, unless, of course, what the liar is lying about is too serious and/or puts his/her spouse at risk of criminal prosecution (for example, if he/she is lying about sexual or domestic abuse, domestic abuse, and other wrongful acts).
While many Utah family courts may turn a blind eye to lying in a divorce proceeding, most courts opt to punish the liars with minor penalties. If your spouse is clearly lying in court and his/her lying could affect the outcome of your divorce, it is critical that you hire a Salt Lake City divorce attorney who would help you hold your dishonest spouse accountable for lying in a divorce proceeding.
If you, on the other hand, believe that lying would help you strengthen your case, be warned that while lying in court might not necessarily result in punishment (such as a prison sentence or massive fine), getting caught would most likely weaken the credibility of your current divorce case and all subsequent family law cases that may arise between you and your spouse.
If there is something particularly unpleasant about your divorce that might hurt your case (for example, cheating during the marriage, domestic abuse, child abuse, alcohol or drug abuse, etc.), it is highly advised to speak to a lawyer who would help you come up with the best legal strategy in your particular case. Just because you engaged in extramarital affairs during the marriage does not make you the loser in your divorce proceeding.