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Uncovering Hidden Assets During Divorce

Posted on in Divorce

DuPage County family law attorneys, hidden assets, high net worth divorce, no-fault divorce, joint tax returnWhen couples divorce in Illinois, they both have a right to equitable division of both physical possessions and financial assets. Couples are not necessarily guaranteed a 50-50 split of everything they own, but each spouse should receive a fair and equitable amount of the marital property.

However, some spouses, especially in cases of high net worth divorce, may attempt to conceal some of their assets in hopes that they will not have to share them.

Spouses may also hide assets because they blame the divorce on the other spouse and do not believe that they are entitled to certain marital property. Still, Illinois is a no-fault divorce state, and courts will not punish a spouse for causing the marriage to fail. Property should be divided equitably; the only exception may be if one spouse has dissipated marital property, in which case the division of remaining property will reflect this.

6 Places to Look for Hidden Assets

There are a number of common places to investigate to determine whether one spouse is attempting to conceal any assets, including:

  1. Joint tax returns - Spouses should obtain a complete copy of their most recent joint tax return. In some cases, spouses may only provide the first few pages of the tax return, or they may give the other spouse a false tax return that is different from what was actually filed. A tax transcript can be requested from the IRS to find the correct information or determine whether any amendments were filed. With the complete tax return, spouses will have a full picture of the other spouse’s income and deductions. This can help determine whether a spouse has overpaid his or her taxes in order to receive the money back in a tax return after the finalization of the divorce.

  1. Financial accounts - Spouses should fully review the statements for any bank accounts or retirement/investment accounts. This can help determine whether money or stocks have been transferred to family members, friends, or custodial accounts created in children’s names.

  1. Physical property - Spouses should determine whether marital funds were used to make new purchases like antiques, artwork, jewelry, or collectible items. Spouses may purchase these types of items, then under-report their value when dividing property.

  1. Business expenses - If one spouse owns a business, he or she may attempt to hide assets by paying a salary to a fake employee or waiting to sign contracts or invoice clients until after the divorce has been finalized. Spouses should thoroughly review bank statements for these businesses and compare them with income and expense reports to see if there are any discrepancies.

  1. Fake debt - Spouses may pay money to friends or family members, claiming that they are repaying a loan or compensating them for services, when they are actually transferring funds to these people with the intent of receiving the money back after the divorce has been finalized. Spouses should review bank statements to look for these types of suspicious money transfers.

  1. Physical cash - Spouses may hide money around the house or in a safety deposit box in hopes that they can keep it close at hand. Searching possible hiding places can help spouses uncover whether any assets are being hidden in the form of physical cash.

Contact a Wheaton Divorce Lawyer

It is illegal to hide assets during divorce, and doing so can lead to serious consequences. If you suspect that your spouse is attempting to conceal property to avoid dividing it during your divorce, you should contact the experienced attorneys at Anderson & Associates, P.C. Call our DuPage County family law attorneys at 630-653-9400 to schedule a free consultation.

Sources:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/jefflanders/2012/03/14/divorcing-women-heres-where-husbands-typically-hide-assets/#168a3caa6579

http://www.divorcemag.com/blog/hidden-assets-during-divorce-red-flags-spouse-is-hiding-money

http://www.wife.org/ss-hiddenassets.htm

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