Most people know that lying under oath in criminal court is considered perjury and is punishable by serious consequences. However, some people don’t realize that perjury can also happen in family court, and it, too, is taken very seriously.
There is a misconception that it is okay to lie about income or hide assets in divorce cases, but that is simply not the case, and an Alabama police chief recently learned this the hard way.
The former LaFayette police chief stepped down from his job earlier this month after being fined for perjury and presenting false documents during his divorce proceeding.
The police chief was also indicted by the county grand jury on second degree perjury charges and quickly made a plea agreement with the District Attorney’s office, the Lafayette Sun reported.
Under the law, perjury in the second degree is considered a class A misdemeanor and is defined as a person lying under oath “with the intent to mislead a public servant in the performance of his duty and his false statement is material to the action, proceeding, or matter involved.”
It is not exactly clear what the former police chief lied about while under oath during his divorce proceeding, but what is clear is the damage it has caused to his career and reputation.
While family law court is different from criminal court in many ways, the expectations of swearing under oath are the same in both settings. Not only can lying during a divorce lead to criminal charges, it can also cause the divorce order to be thrown out.
Talk to your family law attorney for more information on supplying financial documentation and testifying during a divorce proceeding.