Can I Plead the Fifth in My Illinois Divorce?
Wheaton Divorce Lawyers Explain How Fifth Amendment Rights Affect Divorce and Other Civil Cases
The Fifth Amendment of the Constitution is known as the self-incrimination clause and states “No person shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself.” When someone says, “I plead the Fifth,” they cannot be required to answer any questions or state any information that may incriminate them.
Most Americans are aware that they have the right to refuse to answer questions about their own criminal conduct. However, many do not realize that Fifth Amendment protections are limited in civil cases related to divorce.
Some people may wish to plead the Fifth because they are hiding assets, having an affair, or engaging in another activity they do not want to disclose. They may prefer to remain silent rather than lie in court or answer questions that reveal secrets to their spouse.
Unlike in a criminal court case, if you invoke your Fifth Amendment rights in a civil court case, a judge can hold your refusal to answer against you. Therefore, if you are involved in a divorce or another civil case and are concerned that you may be asked to admit criminal conduct, it is in your best interest to reach out to an experienced divorce attorney.
Prior to your court date, your attorney will inform you of what types of questions to expect and how to handle the questions that may make you feel uncomfortable. In most cases, you will need to respond to all questions, unless your attorney tells you otherwise. Aside from preparing you to answer difficult questions, your attorney will object to inappropriate questions and help you avoid answering questions that may hurt you case.
Contact Our Wheaton, Illinois Divorce Lawyers
If you are going through a divorce proceeding, you should call the highly skilled divorce attorneys at Mirabella, Kincaid, Frederick & Mirabella, LLC at 630-665-7300. For decades, we have been assisting clients from DuPage, Kane, and Kendall Counties, and can help you understand how the Fifth Amendment and the Illinois divorce statutes apply to your case.