Can You Assert the 5th Amendment Related to Providing Income in a Divorce Proceeding?

Any divorce proceeding is going to require each party to supply documentation that gives the court an accurate financial picture. When the divorce will include a request for alimony or child support, income is even more important because each party’s earnings will be used to calculate what is fair and just for one party to pay and the other to receive. There is very little you can do to avoid providing your income information. It’s a standard requirement and the judge or mediator is going to expect you to provide that information.

The 5th Amendment will protect you against self incrimination. It does not generally apply to this situation. If you earn money through some sort of illegal activity, you might have an argument, however because your divorce is a civil matter, not a criminal matter, you’re still on shaky legal ground.

Most lawyers agree that if you try to avoid stating your income by using something like the 5th amendment, you’re only going to hurt yourself and your case. The court will see you as being problematic and such an action might be prejudicial to you and your case. If you think your income requires explanation or context, a qualified family law attorney can help you make that case to the court. Don’t try to stall the inevitable with delay tactics such as the 5th discussion of your income and its source will come with a true and real risk of incarceration, invoking that constitutional right is not going to help you in your divorce case.

This post was written by David Hurvitz. Follow David on Google+.