Uncovering Hidden Assets During Divorce
Illinois law requires the equitable distribution of all marital property in the event of divorce. Equitable distribution is, under state law, the fair and just division of marital property. Importantly, a fair and just division is not necessarily an equal division. Besides employment-based income, earnings from investments must also be analyzed, as well as benefits from pensions and other sources. Liabilities (e.g. debt) are also subject to equitable distribution.
In all matters, both parties are obligated to be fully transparent regarding income, assets, liabilities, and other financial matters during a divorce. If you have reason to believe that your spouse is lacking in transparency with regard to their complete financial picture during your divorce, an experienced divorce attorney will work to compel the discovery of income and hidden assets.
Means By Which a Spouse May Attempt to Hide Assets
It is upsetting to learn, but there are several ways a spouse may be attempting to hide income or other financial assets. Once it is clear that the marriage will end in divorce, a spouse may attempt to defer income, including bonuses and promotions, so that it is received after the process of equitable distribution. Estate planning resources, such as a trust, may also be misused to place income in an account beyond the proper reach of equitable distribution.
Family and friends may also become involved, with a spouse fraudulently transferring assets to someone else in an attempt to evade the fair and just division of marital property. Sometimes, evasive action is as simple as hiding cash, commonly in a safe deposit box. Finally, a spouse may attempt what is termed “dissipation” – the inappropriate spending or devaluation of marital property.
Discovery May Be Compelled When Transparency Is Absent
Fortunately for spouses seeking a truly equitable division of marital property, the law provides for the process of discovery. In this process, an experienced divorce attorney is able to compel depositions (sworn testimony), seek interrogatories (written requests for information) and relevant documents, arrange financial inspections, and subpoena parties refusing to meet their legal obligations. Both spouses must cooperate with the discovery process and tell the truth in answering interrogatories or while being deposed.
If you need help discovering your spouse’s financial information and assets, the skilled attorneys at the Law Offices of Nancy Kasko, LLC can help you understand your rights and advocate for your best interests. Contact a Warrenville divorce attorney at 630-836-8540 to schedule a free consultation.
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