Using Discovery to Uncover Hidden Income and Assets During Divorce

Posted on in Divorce

Planning for life after divorce is tough enough, even when there are no child custody and support matters to address, and both spouses will continue on in their careers without interruption after the marriage’s dissolution. Divorce takes an emotional toll even in circumstances where the decision is mutual and there is no animosity. Many divorces, however, are rife with tension and disagreement over financial issues, including the division of marital assets, spousal support, and, when there are children involved, child support.

In obtaining the fair and equitable distribution of assets required by Illinois law, as well as in securing the spousal and child support you need and deserve, the legal process of discovery is instrumental in uncovering income or assets which a spouse may intend to hide from the asset division process.

Illinois Divorce Law Utilizes a Principle of Equitable Distribution

When divorce occurs in Illinois, the state utilizes a principle of “equitable distribution” with regard to a marriage’s income and assets. An equitable distribution is not necessarily an equal division, but is defined broadly as the division of property in “just proportions.”

Some assets of a spouse, especially those obtained prior to marriage and kept separate during marriage (e.g., an inheritance), may be rightly excluded from the process of equitable distribution. Other assets that are fully subject to a fair and equitable distribution, however, may be disputed or even concealed by a spouse. Among the ways in which a spouse may attempt to hide income or other financial assets include:

  • Deferring income or bonuses until after the divorce is finalized.
  • Placing assets in a trust.
  • Secretly transferring assets to a friend or family member.
  • Using secret, separate accounts for investments or funds.
  • Hiding cash or other valuables in a safe deposit box or other location.
  • Dissipation of assets (i.e., spending marital funds or purposely devaluing marital property).

Compelling Cooperation Through The Process of Discovery

When concealment or dissipation of assets is attempted by a spouse, Illinois law allows for the use of the discovery process to help uncover income and assets that have not been duly disclosed. Discovery encompasses a number of methods, including depositions, interrogatories (written requests for documents or information), court-ordered inspections, and subpoenas (orders to appear in court).

If your spouse is being uncooperative in the process of equitable distribution, the Law Offices of Nancy Kasko, LLC can help you employ the process of discovery to ensure that marital property is divided correctly. Schedule a free consultation with our experienced Warrenville divorce attorneys today by calling 630-836-8540.