Property and asset division are two of the biggest issues that come with any divorce. Each partner contributed to the couple’s shared pool of assets, and when the couple decides to end their marriage, part of the process is to make sure these assets are divided fairly among the spouses. In Illinois, the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act does not require that marital assets be divided 50/50 among divorcing spouses. Instead, it must be divided according to what each partner contributed to the marriage, which is determined by looking at factors such as the length of the marriage and each partner’s current income. This is known as equitable distribution.
A fair division of property is only possible if both partners cooperate with the court and are transparent about their assets. If either partner attempts to hide assets from his or her spouse, he or she can create an unfair distribution of the couple’s shared property. Fortunately, there are methods of discovering hidden assets if either spouse is suspected of this behavior.
Talk to your attorney about any assets you suspect your spouse might be hiding to ensure that he or she takes the proper steps to discover any potential hidden assets. You have as much right to these shared assets as your spouse has, and during a divorce you must communicate your needs with your attorney completely to ensure he or she can fully advocate for your interests.
Examples of Hidden Assets
A spouse may hide assets in any number of ways, including:
- Creating secret savings accounts;
- Delaying bonuses until the divorce is finalized;
- Paying nonexistent employees or close friends for services that were not rendered;
- Making sudden tangible purchases with savings money, such as expensive art;
- Moving money into others’ accounts, such as one’s child’s or parent’s account;
- Storing cash as traveler’s checks; and
- Delaying certain business moves and contracts until after a divorce is finalized, thereby keeping the business’ value low.
Discovering Hidden Assets
There are a few different ways an attorney can work with the court to discover hidden assets during a divorce.
- Oral depositions: Each spouse and his or her attorney may be required to appear before a court reporter and answer questions about their assets.
- Requesting tax and income verification: An attorney may request that an individual show his or her tax return, account records, loan applications, and balance statements to show his or her current financial situation.
- Interrogatories: A spouse may be requested to truthfully answer questions about their assets in writing.
- Inspection: Physical observation of a safe deposit box, personal collection, or other piece of property may be necessary.
Qualified Legal Help
If you are currently going through the divorce process and you suspect your spouse might be hiding assets from you, it is vital to retain the services of a lawyer who will fight for you. Contact an experienced divorce attorney in Orland Park today at the offices of Kezy & Associates. For over 25 years, our team has been providing the best in legal services to clients in Cook County and throughout the area.