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Perjury in divorce court

On Behalf of | Feb 22, 2021 | Divorce

Sometimes, one spouse becomes so desperate or vindictive that he or she provides false information to the court. Doing so constitutes a felony in virtually all U.S. courts, including New Jersey.

People found guilty of committing this crime could pay fines and earn criminal records for their pains. For these and moral reasons, reconsider the temptation to lie or twist the truth in divorce court.

Potential examples of perjury

When applying for a license for marriage, remarriage, civil union or reaffirmation, applicants complete and submit the relevant form to the New Jersey Department of Health. The form repeatedly reminds applicants on virtually every page that providing false information amounts to perjury. It also warns of a potential $7,500 fine.

Here are other common examples:

  • Pretending not to know where the other spouse is to pursue a fraudulent divorce by default
  • Misstating personal income to pay lower child support or alimony
  • Providing doctored information

Possible solutions

Unfortunately, the burden of proof might fall on the honest spouse. For example, consider the case of Spouse A pretending not to know Spouse B’s whereabouts to get a divorce behind that person’s back. Spouse B may need to discover the filing and provide information disproving it in court. If already finalized, Spouse B might have the opportunity to challenge unfavorable court orders by showing proof of his or her efforts to contact the other spouse and his or her law firm.

Spouses tackling a lying spouse in divorce court also need to focus on mental health. Psychology Today recommends developing a strong support system and checking in. This might become especially important in cases that involve domestic violence. It reminds divorcees that they cannot change the behavior of the toxic spouse and should not hold themselves responsible for doing so.