Lies are often an unfortunate reality of divorce. While divorce is the breaking of a contract that was intended to be lifelong, it often turns into an emotional battle because of the critical issues at stake such as spousal and child support, child custody and the division of assets. What was shared as a couple must now be divided and that causes people to become defensive and safeguard their interests. Because of the high level of emotions that surface in divorce proceedings, some people will lie to protect themselves, make the other spouse look bad or both. It is important to know that lying in court, the legal definition is perjury, is illegal and has consequences.
What is perjury under Maryland law?
Perjury is willfully and falsely making an oath or affirmation as to a material fact. Whether the lie is spoken or written, if the person is under oath and they know that what they are saying is false they are committing perjury. Perjury is a misdemeanor, and the possible penalty is prison for not more than 10 years. MD Crim Law Code § 9-101 (2017)
Perjury might occur in a deposition, in the divorce documents or at trial. When you complete the Maryland divorce documents, at the end of the document, your signature is an oath that you solemnly affirm, under penalty of perjury, the contents of the document are true to the best of your knowledge, information and belief.
What can you do when your spouse lies during the divorce proceedings?
There is an important distinction here that must be made about uncovering the lies that your spouse is telling. If you have evidence that refutes what your spouse has been saying, your attorney knows how to use it to the best effect in your case. The family law judge likely has years of experience working with divorcing couples, and they can see through many of the tales that people tell in an effort to either shirk their responsibility or make false statements to cast their spouse in an unfavorable light.
Often the arguments and disagreements that emerge between divorcing spouses are of a personal nature, but there are no legal solutions that will resolve the animosity, and the betrayal that causes chaos to erupt in divorce proceedings. If you have evidence to dispute their false statements, allow your family law attorney to intercede on your behalf. Unnecessary conflict in divorce makes the divorce take longer and cost more money.
When you take the high road and don’t engage when your spouse lies in court, or falsely accuses you of something you did not do, the judge is observing everything. If the judge catches your spouse perjuring herself or himself, they can pursue charges.
What happens if you do not discover the lie until the divorce is already settled?
If you do not discover that your spouse misrepresented material facts that had an impact on the outcome of your case, your Columbia divorce attorney will help you consider the possibilities, including filing a petition to request a new hearing.
McCabe Russell, PA is a trusted family law firm focused on protecting our clients’ interests from the filing of the divorce petition to the final settlement. Our team of experienced divorce attorneys in Columbia are here to guide families of all types and income levels through the divorce process, throughout Howard County. You may call 443-917-3347 or fill out this contact form to schedule a consultation. We are also located in Fulton, Rockville and Bethesda to serve you.