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How to Address Hidden Assets in Divorce

Divorce is complicated at the best of times, but if your divorcing spouse is attempting to hide assets in pursuit of a bigger piece of the financial pie, it makes things that much more challenging. You wouldn’t be the first person to be flabbergasted by your spouse’s financial antics – the stress of divorce can bring out the worst in the person whom you thought you knew inside and out. If you suspect that your soon-to-be-ex is hiding assets, discuss your concerns with a dedicated Chicago divorce attorney who has considerable experience successfully guiding complicated cases like yours toward beneficial resolutions. 

Equitable Distribution

Illinois is an equitable distribution state, which means that those assets you, your spouse, and/or you and your spouse together acquire while you are married are deemed marital property.  In the event of divorce, these marital assets must be distributed between you equitably (or fairly in relation to wide-ranging relevant factors). 

Those assets that either of you brings into your marriage with you and keep separate throughout will remain separate, but maintaining the separate nature of an asset after many years of marriage can be exceptionally difficult to accomplish. Further, any increase in the value of the separate property, such as a business or a retirement account, can be deemed marital property. The bottom line, however, is that you cannot address the fair or equitable division of marital property if your spouse is engaged in the business of hiding assets. 

Signs to Look Out For Hidden Assets

If your spouse handled the finances in your marriage, it leaves him or her in a far better position to hide assets in your divorce. Of course, not every divorcing spouse will stoop to such a level, but there are some telltale warning signs that you should be on the lookout for, including:

  • Being Sneaky – If your divorcing spouse has started keeping financial information from you, hiding invoices, changing passwords, deleting electronic files, rerouting mail to a P.O. box, or doing anything else that gives you pause, take the matter seriously. Divorce requires financial transparency, and sneaky behavior is a red flag. 
  • Staying Quiet – If your divorcing spouse refuses to open up about your finances, becomes agitated when you bring them up, or simply ignores the issue, you should reflect on his or her motivations. 
  • Taking a Financial Hit – If you experience an unexpected financial loss, it can mean that your divorcing spouse is up to something. For example, if your spouse claims that your family’s once-thriving business is suddenly near collapse, it’s time to take action. 
  • Refusal to exchange basic financials – If your spouse is refusing to exchange basic financial information that the onset of your divorce case through completion of his or her Financial Affidavit (provided by your attorney).
  • Income.  If you notice a substantial change in hours worked, projects being taken or any change to the status quo regarding employment, be concerned.

Other warning signs include frequent cash withdrawals, unusual financial activity, paying off suspect debts, and more. There are a lot of ways to hide assets in a divorce, and The New York Times even shares a story regarding a businessman who allegedly tried to hide $400 million in anticipation of his divorce. 

Don’t Wait to Consult with an Experienced Chicago Divorce Attorney

There are a lot of ways to hide assets in a divorce, but the Chicago divorce attorneys at WARD FAMILY LAW are well positioned and well prepared to get to the bottom of the matter and to help skillfully protect your financial rights throughout the legal process. To learn more, please don’t wait to contact us today.



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