Spouses getting divorced in Illinois must manage the negotiation of their marital assets, including determining which assets are marital property and which are personally owned. While this sounds straightforward, in practice it can be a very difficult and contentious process. This is especially true for couples with a high net worth and complex assets, but even spouses who have inherited relatively small amounts may struggle with determining what is marital property and personal property.
Fortunately, there is a process called asset tracing that can help spouses determine how much of an asset is marital property. Asset tracing can also help find hidden property and reveal the dishonest actions of a spouse who is trying to unfairly increase their chances of securing asset ownership after a divorce. If you know you will be dealing with certain complex financial issues, such as commingled inheritance funds offshore bank accounts, consider working with a divorce attorney who is well-connected to financial professionals skilled in the practice of asset tracing.
How Does Asset Tracing Work?
Asset tracing is a process, usually performed by a professional forensic accountant or private investigator, in which the value and history of an asset are thoroughly investigated and documented. Using bank statements, subpoenas, and whatever other methods are necessary, the investigator will learn as much as possible about an asset so it can be determined to be marital or personal property and then, if it is marital property, fairly divided.
For example, many people inherit assets from their parents or other relatives and use that money to benefit their family while they are married. Usually, inheritance remains personal property. But if a wife inherits real estate from her mother, sells the real estate, and then places the proceeds in the family’s savings account, it may be difficult to know how much of the balance at the time of the divorce belongs to the wife rather than the couple together. Tracing the bank account’s history can examine years’ worth of bank statements and transaction histories to determine how much of the savings account, if any, belongs exclusively to the wife.
Spouses will sometimes work with asset valuators who are complicit in undervaluing or overvaluing an asset to help the spouse get ahead in the marital property division. In situations like these, investigators can also help determine whether an asset has been correctly valued. They may also help locate overseas assets, hidden cash, or improper “gifts” given to friends or family with the intent to get the “gift” back after the divorce is over, thereby helping the spouse who is victimized by this dishonest behavior get a fair chance at equitable property division.
Speak with a Hinsdale, IL Property Division Lawyer
Whether your spouse is hiding assets or you have accidentally commingled marital and individual property, asset tracing could be highly beneficial to your divorce. The Hinsdale, IL property division attorneys with Law Office of Martoccio & Martoccio are connected to a broad network of financial professionals and we can recommend talented experts to help you protect your property rights in your Illinois divorce. Call us today at 630-920-8855 to set up a complimentary consultation and learn more about how our divorce experience and professional connections can benefit you.