Is a lie told in a sworn document perjury and what are/should be the consequences?

Ex swore in deposition that he had graduated from college before marriage, when in fact he was supported during the marriage while he sought and received his degree.

Asked on August 29, 2017 under Family Law, Michigan


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Yes, to lie under oath (including in a deposition) is perjury. It is a felony, and could theoretically be punished by jail time--up to years in jail. But usually it is NOT prosecuted that way, because a felony perjury prosecution is expensive and can be difficult.
That does *not*, however, mean that someone can lie under oath with impunity. The judge in your case can also consider this "contempt of court" and sanction your ex in any of several ways: a fine; paying some of your legal fees; some time in jail (rare but permissible); drawing an adverse inference (i.e. a negative judgment) about his testimony due to the perjury. You or your lawyer should bring this to the judge's attention.

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