Emotional factors play a significant role in an Illinois divorce case, but with asset division, ending your marriage is similar to dissolving a business. Though Illinois’ statute on the disposition of property and debts is much more detailed than this short description, the basic principles still apply:
Everything acquired by the couple during the marriage is presumed to be subject to equitable distribution. The asset division process starts by classifying marital versus separate property (also known as non-marital property), and then the marital items and/or value is divided up between the parties according to the interests of fairness.
Therefore, the process is reliant on both parties dedicating themselves to honesty and full disclosure. Without a full picture of what comprises the marital estate, equitable distribution is not possible. Divorce lawyers in Chicago often encounter situations in which a spouse decides to hide property to avoid it being considered for asset division. This misconduct affects your finances and your rights, so note these signs your spouse may be concealing assets during your divorce.
Getting the details on a spouse who is hiding assets is a combination of going with your gut and effective, meticulous sleuthing. Therefore, you will need a two-fold strategy:
- You must apply intuition to recognize when something is “off” about your spouse. It is appropriate to be concerned if he or she becomes defensive or secretive. Other strange behavior is opening new bank accounts for children, opening a PO box, and lavish gift-giving.
- Take advantage of the paper trail whenever possible. You are entitled to information about the assets you own, as well as documents under your roof. Review tax records, bank statements, mortgage and loan paperwork, cell phone records, business licenses, and other sources for inconsistencies.
Legal Strategies When Your Spouse Is Concealing Assets
Hiding real estate and personal property in a divorce is intolerable, so Illinois has powerful remedies for your attorney to use for locating assets and bringing them properly before the divorce court. Rules on discovery provide useful tools, such as:
- Requests to Admit Facts, in which you make a statement and your spouse must admit or deny
- Written Interrogatories on questions, both Yes/No and open-ended inquiries
- Requests to Produce Documents, where you ask your spouse to turn over specific paperwork
- Calling your spouse and others with information about your case for a deposition
- Serving subpoenas on people, banks, employers, businesses, and others to produce relevant documents and/or testimony
Illinois court rules require that responses to discovery and depositions be sworn to under oath. They are meant to discourage dishonesty, ideally dissuading parties from ever considering a plan to conceal assets in a divorce. Fortunately, the laws also provide remedies with teeth: Lying under oath is perjury, for which a court could levy penalties. In a matter involving hiding property, the judge may order fines, interest, and other sanctions.
Contact Our Divorce Lawyers in Chicago Right Away About Concealing Assets
It is reassuring to know that there are strategies for addressing hidden assets, but legal help is essential. To learn more, please contact Michael C. Craven to speak to an experienced Chicago divorce attorney. You can schedule a free consultation by calling (312) 621-5234. Once we learn more about your situation, we can discuss the next steps.
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