Divorces can be complicated, and when you believe your spouse is hiding high-value assets to prevent the court from seeing the whole picture in terms of your family's finances, the proceedings can get that much more complex. Hidden assets can directly affect the outcome of your divorce and must be addressed immediately.
If you have reason to suspect your spouse of hiding assets from the court, it is a good idea to consult with an experienced family law attorney right away. Your Wheaton family law attorney will have experience locating hidden assets, persuading spouses to be more forthright with the court, and holding difficult or dishonest spouses accountable for hiding information necessary to gauge how the marital assets should be divided.
What Is a Hidden Asset under Illinois Law?
Whether you are recently separated from your spouse or have been living apart for some time, it is possible that your spouse has hidden income or assets of which you are not aware. Hidden assets can take many forms, including secret bank accounts, income from a second job, undisclosed investments and insurance policies, secret business interests, gambling proceeds, undisclosed inheritance or gifts from family, and many others. Hidden assets can also be physical assets, such as property interests, jewelry, collections, or other valuables.
Sometimes, spouses seeking to hide assets from the court will give cash or items of value to their friends or family members with the objective of retrieving the valuable items after the divorce has been finalized. This practice is sometimes referred to as dissipation or fraudulent transfer of marital assets, and courts typically do not look favorably upon it, since it prevents the equitable division of the marital property.
Methods of Discovery Available to Identify Hidden Assets
Family law attorneys experienced in locating hidden assets in divorce cases have several tools at their disposal to level the playing field and make sure that all marital assets are out in the open when determining equitable asset division and other matters related to divorce. Your divorce attorney may utilize a number of discovery tactics including:
- Subpoenaing employers, bank statements, and records;
- Posing questions that your spouse must answer in writing with help from his or her attorney;
- Working with financial institutions;
- Consulting accountants and tax experts;
- Reviewing tax records for accuracy and asset disclosure;
- Analyzing insurance policies and records;
- Examining credit reports from all credit reporting bureaus;
- Reviewing recent business transactions;
- Interviewing and deposing witnesses and financial experts; and
- Following the paper trail to find "missing" money.
Consult an Experienced Family Law Attorney in Illinois
It is important that you begin working with your passionate Wheaton divorce attorney who handles finding hidden assets as soon as possible, so that he or she may locate any hidden assets in time for the asset and its value to be considered during your divorce proceedings. If the asset is not located until after the division of assets has been completed, you may have to initiate a new court proceeding in order for the court to take that asset into account.