Finding Your Spouse’s Hidden Assets

hidden assets, Wheaton divorce attorneysSometimes, divorces get ugly, as we all know. The most common way that spouses try to hurt each other during divorce, aside from arguing over their children, is to attempt to gain the upper hand in terms of property distribution by any means necessary—including the hiding of assets. If you suspect your spouse of hiding assets, there are multiple methods that can be used to help uncover the wrongdoing, either on your own or with professional help.

Methods for Your Lawyer

In a divorce, your attorney is your primary resource if you suspect your spouse has committed a financial misdeed. There are multiple legal documents used during the civil process of divorce, especially during discovery, in which a party is bound by law to tell the truth, and they must do so in very specific ways, providing very specific information. Both parties are bound to comply with any discovery request that the court deems reasonable, which will usually be most of them.

If your attorney tailors their discovery requests appropriately, you can request significant amounts of information from your spouse. Written interrogatories, for example, are commonly used during discovery where a party will be asked to answer questions or confirm or deny a given statement. Another common tool is inspections. Either party may inspect assets like collections or safety deposit boxes at any time in most divorce cases, and the inspection may or may not turn up information pointing to deception or other property-related wrongdoings. Depositions of your spouse or of relevant financial professionals can also shed light on potential issues, though in many situations, discovery depositions cannot be used at trial.

Methods Involving Outside Professionals

If you believe there has been asset misappropriation on a larger scale, you may want to call in professional help, such as a forensic accountant. A forensic accountant is a financial professional who is also versed in how to spot potential fraud or other financial-related crimes. They have the capability to investigate asset transfers and other potentially unethical behavior, especially if there is a family business involved.

Forensic accountants and CPAs can also work hand in hand with other professionals like business valuation experts and tax lawyers. The key to discovering hidden assets is to search for patterns, and different financial experts may be well suited to identify different patterns. It may seem excessive to hire outside help, but sometimes a financial puzzle is so complex that a larger team is needed.

Consult a Knowledgeable Attorney

If you suspect your spouse of hiding assets that may be yours by right, your first step is to speak to a good attorney. Contact an experienced Wheaton property division lawyer to get the help you need today. Call 630-871-1002 for a free, no-obligation consultation at any of our three convenient locations.



What Is the USFSPA?

USFSPA, Illinois military divorce attorneyMilitary members marry, divorce, and deal with family just like everyone else. However, the nature of military service means that the law must be adapted to serve their unique needs at times. The Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA) is a good example of this adaptivity that can help keep military service members and their former spouses in good shape even after a divorce.

History of the Law

The USFSPA sets out regulations which must be followed by civilian courts in awarding military retirement pay as an asset in the division of a marital estate. It does not give a former spouse an automatic share in retirement pay; it merely grants the court the right to see such pay as an asset. The Act also allows civilian courts to enforce orders for child or spousal support against active or retired military service members.

Before its passage, there was essentially no statutory right to receive any amount of military or retired pay, exemplified by a high-profile case in 1981. In that case, the Supreme Court ruled that applying community property standards to military pay was precluded from happening by the language of the relevant statute and that to do so might undermine the impetus for many service members to enlist. In response to the court’s decision, the USFSPA was enacted, passing Congress with bipartisan support and being signed into law in 1982.

The 10/10 Rule

One important rule that often becomes relevant in many military divorces is the so-called 10/10 Rule, which governs how retirement pay is disbursed. The 10/10 Rule holds that in order for retirement pay to be classed as an asset by a civilian court and its disbursement enforced by the USFSPA, the service member must have been married for at least 10 years, during which time the member must have performed at least 10 years of service eligible to be counted toward retirement.

If both of these conditions are not satisfied, retirement pay cannot be divided in a way that is enforceable under the USFSPA. However, in most cases, this will not stop you from working out an agreement between you and your spouse to divide the retirement pay; it will simply not be enforceable under USFSPA if there are problems in the future. In a situation of that type, you would likely be forced to resolve your dispute through mediation or in a civilian court.

Seek Experienced Legal Help

Military members have busy, difficult lives, and divorce can get very complicated depending on timing, location, and other factors. Having an experienced Illinois military divorce lawyer on your side can help simplify the process. Contact a member of our team today and get the help you need. Call 630-871-1002 for a free consultation at the Andrew Cores Family Law Group.



Bankruptcy, Maintenance, and Child Support

bankruptcy, Wheaton divorce attorneysIn this day and age, bankruptcy has become more common than it used to be, unfortunately, and as such, more and more people are encountering issues with other obligations that are directly related to bankruptcy. While many believe that a bankruptcy will essentially wipe out all their debt, what they do not know is that certain obligations are specifically exempted from this, and must still be paid regardless of any financial issues.

Spousal Maintenance

While it is not mandatory, a large number of divorce cases in Illinois assign maintenance rights to one spouse or the other. In Illinois, this obligation is specified to last a certain period of time, but if the obligor—the spouse who is paying support—must file for bankruptcy, it is reasonable to look into the possibility of modification. However, the key word is modification. Under the U.S. Internal Revenue Code, maintenance or alimony obligations are not considered dischargeable. In other words, any debts that are of this nature will not be simply erased, as other debts might be in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

There are select situations in which you may be able to change or write off a debt of spousal support, but they are rare and involve the assignment of the debt to someone other than the recipient spouse. U.S. tax code holds that maintenance is not dischargeable because it is what is referred to as an obligation of support, but once the debt is assigned, it can no longer be said to support the spouse. Generally, even if you declare bankruptcy, you will still be on the proverbial hook for spousal support in Illinois. However, this does not preclude you from attempting to deal with the issue directly and asking your spouse—or a family court—for a modification due to your struggling finances.

Child Support

Child support obligations are almost never dischargeable. The U.S. Bankruptcy Code states explicitly that “domestic support obligations” are not dischargeable, and child support falls under this category. There is sometimes confusion on this score because if you file Chapter 13, any child support arrearages do come under the aegis of the Chapter 13 plan, but this does not mean these debts are dischargeable. It merely means that under a Chapter 13 repayment plan, the arrearages will be part of that plan.

In most cases, debt relating to the care of your children is less likely to be dischargeable than if it were incurred on your own behalf. A common example is medical care. For example, if your child requires significant medical care, a court is more likely to deem such costs as domestic support obligations, especially if these costs are foreseeable. The state of Illinois holds that child support and all its attendant expenses are due to the child, not to your ex-spouse, and as such, treats attempts to avoid payment quite seriously.

Seek Experienced Legal Assistance

Dealing with bankruptcy is very complex at the best of times, and trying to deal with one while in the midst of a divorce can be too much for any one person to bear. If you are face such a situation, contact an experienced DuPage County family law attorney for assistance. Call 630-871-1002 for a free consultation at any of our three convenient office locations.