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How Are Hidden Assets Addressed in an Illinois Divorce?

 Posted on July 21, 2023 in Divorce

Untitled-87.jpgGoing through a divorce can be emotionally and financially challenging. However, the divorce process can become even more complicated when one spouse suspects that the other is hiding assets. In Illinois, the law requires both parties to fully disclose their assets during divorce proceedings. Unfortunately, some individuals may try to conceal or undervalue certain assets in order to gain an unfair advantage when dividing marital property during the divorce process.

If you believe your spouse has hidden assets, consulting with an experienced family law attorney who can help uncover these issues and ensure a fair division of property is crucial. At The Law Office of Nicholas W. Richardson, P.C., our skilled divorce lawyer understands the complexities involved in identifying and addressing hidden assets in an Illinois divorce.

Identifying Hidden Assets

The process of identifying hidden assets will often involve a thorough investigation and analysis of financial records by professionals such as forensic accountants or private investigators. These experts can uncover discrepancies and trace money trails that might lead to undisclosed assets.

Spouses may use various methods to hide property or refuse to share assets that are jointly owned. Some common tactics include:

  • Undervaluing assets: A spouse may intentionally undervalue real estate properties, businesses, investments, or valuable collections.
  • Cash transactions: Engaging in transactions without a paper trail can be another tactic used by a spouse in an attempt to hide income or transfer money to other parties.
  • Fake debt creation: Creating fictitious debts or loans with friends or family members can artificially deflate a person’s net worth during the divorce process, or this may be a tactic used to transfer assets to others with the intent of receiving them back after the divorce has been finalized.
  • Moving assets offshore: A spouse may transfer funds into bank accounts in other countries, and these transactions may be difficult for the other party or the authorities to trace.

Legal Actions to Address Hidden Assets

If you suspect your spouse is hiding assets, taking immediate legal action is crucial. Your attorney can guide you through the following steps:

  1. Filing a petition for discovery: Your attorney can file a petition with the court to initiate the discovery phase of your divorce proceedings. This allows both parties to request and gather relevant financial information from each other.
  2. Document review: A careful review of financial documents such as tax returns, bank statements, investment accounts, business records, and property titles can reveal discrepancies or inconsistencies that may indicate hidden assets.
  3. Forensic analysis: If necessary, experts like forensic accountants can be employed to dig deeper into financial records and identify any hidden transactions or undervalued assets.
  4. Subpoenas: Your attorney may issue court orders to third parties who might have knowledge about your spouse's hidden assets. These parties could include banks, employers, business partners, or even friends and family members who may be complicit in concealing assets.
  5. Settlement negotiations or trial: Once all the relevant asset information has been gathered and analyzed, negotiations for a fair settlement can begin. In some cases where an agreement cannot be reached outside of court (even after uncovering hidden assets), your attorney may present evidence during trial proceedings so it can be considered by the judge when dividing marital property equitably.

The Consequences of Hiding Assets

The penalties for concealing assets can be severe, and in some cases, a person may even face criminal charges if they engaged in fraudulent activities that violated the law. A spouse who has hidden assets can face significant consequences during the divorce process, including:

  • Asset forfeiture: The court may order that the concealed assets be awarded entirely to the innocent spouse as compensation for the attempted fraud.
  • Favorable distribution: If one party has hidden assets, the court may award a larger share of the marital estate to the other party, or other arrangements may be made to ensure that all marital assets can be distributed fairly and equitably.
  • Penalties for lying under oath: Purposely providing false information under oath during financial disclosures or other court proceedings can lead to perjury charges.

Contact Our Experienced Rolling Meadows Property Division Attorney

If you suspect your spouse is hiding assets during your Illinois divorce, it is vital to act quickly and seek legal representation. At The Law Office of Nicholas W. Richardson, P.C., our dedicated Arlington Heights asset division lawyer has extensive experience handling discovery and uncovering hidden assets in complex divorce cases. We are committed to protecting your rights and ensuring a fair division of property. Contact our office today at 847.873.6741 for a free consultation.



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