Discovering Hidden Assets: The Key to a Fair Divorce Settlement

Assets distribution is one of the most contentious aspects of each divorce, especially if complex assets are involved. In Illinois (an equitable distribution state), judges consider various circumstances when assigning a fair share of marital property.

Things get even more complicated if you suspect your spouse is hiding assets, attempting to avoid equitable distribution. If you find yourself in a situation involving hidden assets, you need professional help.

An experienced divorce attorney, working with a team of forensic accountants and other financial experts, will help you scrutinize financial records and track assets your spouse might be concealing.

Receiving a fair portion of marital property in a divorce settlement requires a vigilant approach. Below is an overview of typical red flags and the most common methods for uncovering hidden assets.

Warning Signs Your Spouse is Hiding Assets

Disclosing financial information is an integral part of the Illinois divorce procedure. The law requires parties to reveal financial and property-related information using disclosure statements or financial affidavits. Intentionally or recklessly entering inaccurate or misleading information on financial affidavit forms can result in various penalties and sanctions. Despite the grave consequences, one spouse often conceals their assets, compromising fair distribution.

Your attorney will carefully analyze disclosure forms, helping you spot the most common red flags indicating your spouse is hiding assets:

  • The expenses surpass the income

If the expenses surpass the income your spouse claimed in the disclosure statement, that may be a warning sign of hiding assets. To ensure your assumption is correct, analyze their debt and see if it fits the equation. Each expense must correspond to income or an appropriate debt in the financial affidavit. If that is not the case, you are dealing with hidden assets.

  • The income variations

Another red flag indicating hidden assets are income variations. If your spouse’s income suddenly drops without explanation, it could point to asset hiding. The financial affidavit form should contain information corroborating income variations. For example, lower income can result from switching to another job, which the person filling out the form must explicitly state. Otherwise, you can reasonably suspect your spouse is hiding assets.

  • Undervaluing assets

The divorce disclosure statement contains a section in which spouses must specify their assets (cash, investments, real estate, motor vehicles, business interests, etc.). You must designate the value and enter the valuation date for each asset. A reliable sign of asset hiding is when property in the disclosure form has a lower claimed value than you know (or believe) it has.

  • Rushing the divorce process

This red flag is non-related to disclosure statements. It aims at distracting your attention from financial documents. If your spouse is urging you to sign divorce papers and skip the scrutinizing process, you can be sure they are hiding something. Rushing the divorce process is an additional reason to be increasingly vigilant.

Discovering Hidden Assets During Divorce

Discovering Hidden Assets During Divorce

Detecting the warning signs your spouse is hiding assets from you during divorce is just the beginning. You need to know where to look for assets put off the table. Here are some typical methods for discovering hidden assets.

  • Tax returns. Start with analyzing tax returns. It is the most reliable method of revealing almost any attempt to hide assets. Your spouse may conceal cash, investments, and valuable items from you. But they will think twice before trying to do the same with the IRS. Harsh penalties (and even jail time) will convince them to stay truthful when dealing with tax return forms.
  • Account statements/canceled checks. Your attorney should scrutinize financial records from all available accounts during the divorce discovery. Searching for canceled checks and account statements can reveal evidence that points to asset manipulation.
  • Loan applications. Applying for a loan involves filling out various forms stating all your assets (cash, real estate, investments, etc.). Banks and other loan providers are strict when reviewing applications, making sure provided information is correct. When you search for hidden assets, analyzing your spouse’s loan application is a must.
  • Savings accounts. Scrutinizing your spouse’s savings account can reveal an unusual pattern of deposits and withdrawals. If you notice these transactions do not correspond with their income schedule, your spouse may have income sources you do not know.
  • Tax assessor’s records. The tax assessor’s office is an irreplaceable resource helping you discover hidden assets. If your spouse used money from a savings account to buy real estate, the tax assessor’s record shows all real property (land or houses) they own, with its taxable value.
  • Employer as an accomplice. Sometimes even your spouse’s boss can help them hide assets. They can convince their employer to withhold paying bonuses and other benefits until the divorce is final, reducing the marital property subject to equitable distribution.
  • Third-party involvement. If no other traceable evidence is available, consider inquiring about third-party involvement. Your spouse can transfer assets to a close friend, portraying it as a debt. After the divorce is final, the third person will return the money.

Which Spouse is More Likely to Hide Assets?

A Trusted Ally in Uncovering Assets

Theoretically, both partners can hide assets from each other. But one spouse is typically in a better position to manipulate the property. In most marriages, one spouse takes the responsibility of managing the finances. Consequently, they are much more familiar with the couple’s financial situation, which allows them to conceal valuable assets using one of the mentioned methods.

A Trusted Ally in Uncovering Assets

Cooper Trachtenberg Law Group, LLC is an Illinois law firm practicing family law.

Discovering hidden assets can be daunting for everyone except for Cooper Trachtenberg Law Group, LLC professionals. We pride ourselves on being top-notch attorneys well-versed in the most complex accounting and auditing techniques. Our lawyers excel at detecting suspicious transactions aimed at concealing valuable assets and leaving you without your fair share in the marital property division.

Our profound understanding of financial matters helps us work shoulder-to-shoulder with forensic accountants and other experts, helping you trace hidden assets during Illinois divorce.

Please reach out to us today to schedule your consultation.

Breaking Gray: The Rising Trend of Divorce Among Older Adults in the Chicagoland Area

Divorce is a complicated and emotionally taxing process, regardless of age. However, ending a long-term marriage can be incredibly challenging for many older adults. Gray divorce, or the trend among couples aged 50 and above, is on the rise. In the past few decades, the divorce rate for this demographic has doubled while the overall divorce rate has decreased. This shift has significant implications for individuals, families, and society. In this article, we’ll talk about the reasons why gray divorce is becoming more common, how divorce affects older people, and how to deal with this change in your life.

Factors Contributing to Gray Divorce

There are several reasons why gray divorce has become more prevalent in recent years. One key factor is increased life expectancy and longer marriages. As people live longer, they may find that they have grown apart from their partner or that their needs and interests have changed. Additionally, couples who have been together for decades may experience a midlife crisis, where they feel the need explore new opportunities and make significant life changes. This can include reassessing their marriage and deciding to end it.

Another factor contributing to gray divorce is financial independence. In the past, many women were financially dependent on their husbands, which made leaving a marriage more challenging. However, as women have entered the workforce in more significant numbers and achieved higher levels of education, they have gained greater economic autonomy. This means that older women may feel more empowered to end a marriage that is no longer fulfilling.

Changing gender roles is another factor contributing to gray divorce. As societal expectations around gender have evolved, so too have expectations around marriage. Women are no longer expected to be solely responsible for homemaking and childrearing, and men are no longer expected to be the sole breadwinners. This shift has led to greater gender equality in marriage. Still, it has also led to a higher likelihood of divorce if couples cannot navigate these changes successfully.

Finally, technological advances and online dating have also contributed to the rise of gray divorce. With the advent of dating apps and social media, it has become easier for older adults to connect with new people and form relationships outside of their marriages. This can lead to infidelity or a desire to explore new romantic opportunities.

Effects of Gray Divorce

Effects of Gray Divorce

The effects of gray divorce can be significant for both the individuals involved and their families. Emotionally, divorce can be challenging for anyone, but it can be especially difficult for older adults. After the divorce, they may have invested decades of their lives into their marriage and may feel they have lost a sense of purpose or identity. They may also experience depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues due to stress and upheaval.

Financially, a gray divorce can also be challenging. Older adults who have been divorced may find it harder to maintain their standard of living, especially if they are financially dependent on their spouse. They may also have to divide retirement savings, which can be difficult if they are planning to rely on those funds for their retirement years. Additionally, divorced older adults may have a more challenging time finding employment, as age discrimination is a genuine concern in the workforce.

Divorce can also strain relationships with adult children. For example, children may feel caught in the middle of their parent’s divorce or may feel like they have to choose sides. They may also worry about their parents’ emotional and financial well-being and feel responsible for caring for them.

Finally, a gray divorce can lead to social isolation. Divorced older adults may feel like they have lost their social support system, especially if their friends were primarily couples they knew through their marriage. They may also feel stigmatized or judged by society, as some still view divorce as a failure or a sign of weakness.

Coping with Gray Divorce

While a gray divorce can be challenging, there are strategies for coping with this life transition. One crucial step is to seek counseling or therapy. A mental health professional can provide support and guidance as you navigate the emotional challenges of divorce. They can also help you develop coping skills and strategies for managing stress and anxiety.

Another important consideration is the legal aspect of divorce. Working with an experienced attorney who can help you navigate the legal complexities of property division, alimony, and other issues is essential. They can also help you understand your rights and responsibilities and protect your interests throughout the divorce process.

Community support is also crucial for coping with a gray divorce. There are many support groups and organizations that cater specifically to older adults who are going through a divorce. These groups can provide community and understanding, as well as practical support and advice.

Finally, it’s important to reinvent one’s life after divorce. This can be a challenging process, but it can also be an opportunity for growth and self-discovery. Many older adults find they can explore new interests, pursue new careers, and form new friendships after divorce. By focusing on the opportunities that divorce can provide, rather than dwelling on the challenges, one can move forward with confidence and optimism.



Gray divorce is a complex and multifaceted issue, with many factors contributing to its rise. However, by better understanding the causes of a gray divorce and its effects on individuals and families, we can work towards better supporting those going through this challenging life transition. By seeking counseling, working with an experienced attorney, and connecting with community resources, older adults going through a divorce can find the support they need to move forward. Ultimately, gray divorce can be an opportunity for growth and self-discovery, leading to a brighter and more fulfilling future.

Call the Professionals at Cooper Trachtenberg Law Group, LLC

If you’re a retired couple considering divorce, the Cooper Trachtenberg Law Group, LLC is here to help. Our experienced attorneys understand the unique challenges that come with divorce later in life, and we can guide you through the process with compassion and expertise.

Don’t let fear or uncertainty hold you back from making the best decision for your future. Take action today and schedule a consultation with our team. We’ll provide you with the information and support you need to navigate this complex legal process and move forward with confidence.

Remember, you don’t have to go through this alone. Contact us at 847-995-8800 now to learn more about how we can help you protect your interests and achieve the best possible outcome in your divorce.