For most couples, determining which assets are marital property and which are individual property is fairly straightforward. Many couples own a house, a couple of cars, and shared bank accounts, all of which are probably marital property. However, for some couples–especially those with high net worth, family inheritance, or inadequate prenuptial agreements–questions about which assets are marital property can become very contentious.
This process is complicated by the fact that some spouses will try to claim property they know is not theirs, or hide property that is technically marital property to try to enhance their financial position after a divorce. If you are in this situation and want to ensure you get a fair division of marital property, an experienced Illinois divorce attorney with the assistance of a professional forensic accountant may be able to help you.
When a couple buys a home together, that asset’s history is usually very simple and there is a paper trail to prove it. Joint signatures on a loan agreement, payments recorded on bank statements, or a title in both spouses’ names makes it easy to track, or “trace,” the asset’s history.
But what about a husband who inherited a significant amount of cash from his parents, and then placed it in a joint savings account, of which his wife now claims equal ownership? Even if Illinois law states that inherited property belongs to the spouse who inherited it, placing the funds in a joint bank account likely caused them to become commingled. Tracing the history of the funds, including an investigation of the savings account’s statements, spending history, and interest earned on the original deposit, can help the husband keep the portion of the remaining balance that is his.
What Does a Forensic Accountant Do?
Forensic accountants are financial professionals who work with a spouse’s divorce attorneys to help determine which spouse is entitled to ownership over any given asset, as well as what the asset’s value is. Forensic accountants can also help a spouse who suspects their ex is hiding assets or income. Forensic accountants can examine bank statements, tax records, business payrolls, and more to try to find discrepancies and evidence of financial malfeasance. If necessary, forensic accountants can testify about their findings in court during divorce proceedings.
Call a Wheaton, IL Marital Property Division Lawyer
Figuring out which assets should be considered marital property can be a challenging process, both logistically and emotionally. If you are worried that your spouse is trying to wrongfully hide or claim marital assets, speak with a DuPage County marital asset division attorney with Andrew Cores Family Law Group. We can help you create a sound divorce strategy and refer you to outside professionals, such as forensic accountants, when necessary. Call us today at 630-871-1002 to schedule a free and confidential consultation.