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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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.