Tag Archives: property division

How to Look for Hidden Assets During Your Illinois Divorce

DuPage County property division attorney for hidden assetsSometimes, by the time people get divorced, they do not even recognize each other anymore. Over the years, a sense of mistrust might have festered. Misgivings about your spouse and his or her motivations often contribute to the decision to file for divorce. As the divorce drives you two even further apart, it becomes easier and easier to keep things from each other. This is when hidden assets become an even greater possibility. If you suspect your spouse might be hiding assets from you and your attorneys, what should you do? There are a few things that require further investigation from you and your lawyers to make sure no asset is left buried.

What to Do During the Hunt for Hidden Assets

Financial fraud during divorce is much easier to commit than it is to expose. There is quite a bit of detective work that goes into finding those hidden assets, bringing them to light, and enabling them to be divided along with other marital property during a divorce. Here are some ways you and your lawyer might be able to hunt for hidden assets:

  • Take an Inventory—Collect all of the financial documentation for both you and your spouse. Be very thorough and organized in your collection of this paperwork. You need to have a strong baseline to judge your financial picture against that of your spouse. If you notice specific inconsistencies, then you know where to look first for possible hidden assets.

  • Study Tax Returns—Tax returns can reveal a great deal about a spouse’s financial history. By comparing tax returns from year to year, you and your attorney will be able to more easily decipher the data and discover hidden assets. For instance, there could be some itemized deductions (on Schedule A); interest and dividends (on Schedule B); business profits or losses (on Schedule C); capital gains and losses (on Schedule D); or supplemental income and losses (on Schedule E) that can indicate what might be missing from the finances your spouse is reporting.

  • Review Mortgage Documentation—When you apply for a mortgage, you must report all of your finances. The underwriters put you through a comprehensive and stringent auditing process that provides a clear and in-depth picture of your finances. They cannot give you and your spouse that mortgage without such detailed due diligence. That is why those papers are so important to your search for hidden assets. There might be assets or properties reported there that were not reported during the divorce.

  • Conduct a Physical Search—Both actual property and paper trails leading to certain assets might be found in physical locations where you and your spouse keep important items. Consider conducting a search of safes, safe deposit boxes, and other typical “hiding spots” for important possessions.

How Will Your Lawyer Help with the Hunt?

In addition to helping you with all of the aforementioned ways to find hidden assets, your lawyer can also do the following:

  • Engage in Aggressive Research—Many lawyers are accustomed to searching for—and locating—hidden assets during divorces. They know exactly where to look and how to optimize their research.

  • Enlist the Help of Industry Experts—Your lawyer may work with a forensic accountant who will review your and your spouse’s tax returns for any inconsistencies. They will investigate your respective financial histories to make sure every last cent is accounted for. If they cannot locate something, they will attempt to find it and arrange for it to be included in your divorce case.

  • Subpoenas—When you, your lawyer, or financial experts need additional support for your findings, or when you suspect further financial culpability on the part of your spouse, your lawyer has the right to subpoena banks and other similar institutions for supplemental records.

Contact a Wheaton, IL Asset Division Lawyer

The hunt for hidden assets can be long and involved. That is why you need a skilled DuPage County divorce attorney on your side to make sure you leave no financial documents buried. With the assistance of Andrew Cores Family Law Group, you will be able to track down all those hidden assets that you have a hunch about. Call 630-871-1002 for a free consultation.

Sources:

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/financial-fraud-and-divor_b_8210922

https://www.forbes.com/sites/catherineschnaubelt/2019/03/08/finding-hidden-assets-in-a-divorce/#6d1f0a1e6fd1

What if My Spouse Is Hiding Assets During Our Illinois Divorce?

DuPage County divorce lawyer for hidden assetsWhen a couple reaches the point where their marriage is irretrievably broken, they will likely seek a divorce. The process of legally ending a marriage can be complicated, especially if there are a lot of issues to resolve. If spouses are argumentative or bitter, this may only further complicate matters. Part of the divorce proceedings involve dividing any marital property or assets. In some situations, one of the spouses may try to hide monetary funds or other valuable possessions. A study by the National Endowment for Financial Education found that 31 percent of spouses with combined assets report they were deceptive about money, and 58 percent of those people admitted to hiding money from their partner or spouse. In divorce cases involving hidden assets, it is imperative to hire professional legal assistance to uncover such deception.

Division of Marital Assets

In the state of Illinois, marital property and assets are divided using the principle of “equitable distribution.” This means they will be split fairly, but not necessarily completely 50/50. Any assets that were acquired during the matrimonial union may be subject to division. Anything that one of the spouses owned prior to the marriage does not have to be split, unless the other spouse contributed to its value in some way. For example, if one party owned a business before getting married, but his or her spouse helped run it during the marriage, that spouse may be able to receive reimbursement for his or her contributions to any increase in the value of the business.

Separate property is considered anything acquired by a spouse before the marriage. However, a gift or inheritance received during the marriage can also be classified as the personal property of one spouse. A prenuptial agreement or postnuptial agreement may also be used to classify certain assets as separate property. At the time of divorce, any property that is labeled as separate property belongs to the spouse who acquired it.

Types of Assets That Are Often Hidden

Asset division can be a complex process, since it often includes many different types of property, including physical items, financial accounts, and debts. There are some types of property that may be easily hidden. Certain assets may go undetected, especially if only one spouse’s name is on an account, retirement plan, or subscription. Some assets may “fly under the radar;” that is, one spouse may not even be aware of their existence or value. The following are examples of these types of assets:

  • Timeshare properties

  • Frequent-flyer miles

  • Stocks or bonds

  • Health club or country club memberships

  • Income tax refunds

  • Retirement benefits

  • Life insurance policies

  • Season tickets (entertainment, sports)

  • Antiques and collectibles

  • Cash

Hidden assets can involve illegal activities such as fraud, as well as legitimate loopholes.  However, manipulating valid processes and procedures for the purpose of defrauding the court or the other spouse is illegal.

The discovery of hidden assets in a divorce case can change the outcome of the property distribution. In addition to the loss of ownership of assets that were hidden, the guilty party could face a permanent criminal record. Violations can result in criminal charges of fraud, contempt of court, and perjury.

Contact a DuPage County Divorce Attorney

A divorce can be one of the most difficult transitions you will go through in your life, and you deserve your fair share of the property you and your spouse acquired during your marriage. If your spouse is hiding assets from you in order to come out ahead, you should take legal action to ensure that all of your marital assets are divided correctly. At the Andrew Cores Law Group, our attorneys have extensive knowledge of Illinois divorce law, including how to uncover hidden assets. Our Wheaton property division lawyers can help you understand all of your options to make sure you receive a fair settlement. Call our office today at 630-871-1002 to schedule a free consultation.

 

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?ActID=2086&ChapterID=59&SeqStart=6000000&SeqEnd=8300000

 

How Is a Professional Practice Divided in an Illinois Divorce?

Wheaton, IL divorce attorney for professional practice division

When going through a divorce, a couple will need to divide up their property. According to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA), marital property is divided using “equitable distribution.” This means any property or assets acquired during the marriage must be divided fairly, but not necessarily equally. If one spouse is a doctor, dentist, lawyer, psychologist, accountant, or any professional who owns his or her own practice or business, this can complicate matters. Like any piece of the marital estate, several factors will be considered to determine how to divide a professional practice or business during the divorce proceedings. It is important to seek legal counsel so you know your rights when it comes to splitting this valuable asset.

Factors the Court Will Consider

A professional practice or business is subject to division in a divorce unless there is a valid prenuptial or postnuptial agreement that specifies how ownership of this asset will be handled. In many cases, the court will consider which spouse has contributed the most to the practice and allow that spouse to keep ownership of the practice, while the other spouse will receive marital assets that are of a similar value.

If one spouse opened his or her practice or business during the marriage, it is classified as marital property. On the other hand, if it was started prior to the union, it may still be considered part of the marital estate if the other spouse made significant contributions to establish the practice or keep it running. These contributions may include using marital money to finance the business or working at the practice as an employee.

When allocating assets, the court will also consider whether one partner helped pay for the other partner’s education for a degree or professional license. In some cases, the supporting spouse may be compensated for their contributions that may have led to an increase in value for the practice. This compensation may come in the form of a higher share of the practice’s profits or value. However, the judge may choose to give that spouse a greater share of other assets instead. Other factors the court will take into account include:

  • The fair market value of the practice/business

  • How much the practice/business is expected to appreciate or depreciate

  • Any tax consequences/obligations

  • The value of the real estate on which the practice/business resides

  • The value of any equipment used by the practice (if applicable)

Typically, a law firm will work with business appraisers in addition to financial planners/professionals to determine the true value of a practice or business and the ideal methods for dividing these types of assets.

Contact a Wheaton, IL Divorce Lawyer

A person works hard to earn his or her professional degree or license. In the event of a divorce, dividing a professional practice or business can be a complex matter. Whether or not you own the practice, it is imperative to understand your rights during the division of property. The Andrew Cores Family Law Group has handled high-asset and complex divorces, and our attorneys understand the importance of equitable distribution. Our skilled DuPage County property division attorneys can assist you in protecting your share of the marital estate. Call our office today at 630-871-1002 to schedule a free consultation.

Sources: http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?ActID=2086&ChapterID=59&SeqStart=6000000&SeqEnd=8300000