At the outset, you should keep one key point in mind about divorce in Illinois. The Illinois statute on the dissolution of marriage is no-fault, which means nothing can stop you if you want a divorce. There are some basic procedural requirements, however. When filing the petition for divorce, at least one of the spouses must be a resident of Illinois or be stationed in the state for at least 90 days via military service. The petition must also state that irreconcilable differences have caused the irretrievable breakdown of the marital relationship, and reconciliation is not practical. This requirement is met when the spouses live separately for at least six (6) months.
Therefore, your spouse’s hiding assets do not affect grounds for filing for divorce in Illinois. Such a situation certainly does affect the proceedings, making the case more complex. Fortunately, there are many tools and tactics available that divorce lawyers in Chicago use to counter such misconduct. An overview of the concealment of property is informative.
How Hidden Assets Affect Illinois Divorce
There are two key areas in which one spouse’s concealing property affects the other party in the dissolution of marriage proceedings:
- Property division, in which assets acquired by the spouses during marriage are subject to equitable distribution between them.
- Spousal and child support to be paid to a lower-earning spouse to balance the financial disparities between the parties.
When making determinations in these areas, the judge must be able to see the big picture of the parties’ financial situation – including all assets and sources of income. Concealing information means the aggrieved party receives less.
Tools for Getting Access to Property
Initially, one resource for uncovering hidden assets is the financial affidavits the parties submit to the court. Each spouse is required to provide full disclosure of real estate, personal property, income, debts, and related information. The affidavit may include sufficient details to track down other assets that a party did not include. In addition, parties to a divorce can use Illinois discovery tools to find the concealed property.
Documents produced in connection with divorce discovery are tendered with an attestation that a full and complete disclosure was made. The threat of sanctions is often sufficient to discourage misconduct.
Court Action for Concealment of Property
Through investigative work, discovery tools, and tracking down information in the financial affidavit, it is possible to get assets properly before the court. The judge can then:
- Make an appropriate decision on what constitutes marital property subject to equitable distribution
- Award maintenance (alimony)
- Order the wrongdoing party to pay the other’s attorneys’ fees
- Issue sanctions against the spouse who concealed assets, including fines
Speak to Our Divorce Lawyers in Chicago About a Spouse Hiding Assets
If you believe your spouse is concealing property in Illinois divorce proceedings, please contact Michael C. Craven to set up a free initial consultation. You can call (312) 621-5234 to speak to an experienced Chicago divorce attorney. After reviewing your situation, we can discuss strategies for accessing hidden assets and bringing them properly before the court.