Almost all of the property that was accumulated during the marriage by either spouse is considered marital property, meaning it is jointly owned by both parties.
Both spouses have a right to an equitable share of marital property. However, some individuals attempt to block their spouse from receiving his or her fair share by hiding assets during divorce.
Transparency regarding finances is essential during a divorce, and Illinois courts demand honesty. If you suspect that your spouse is hiding assets, contact a skilled divorce attorney for help right away.
Transferring Money to Friends and Family
A spouse who is preparing for divorce may start transferring funds to friends and family members in anticipation of the divorce. Often, this is done under the guise of paying back a personal loan. The spouse gives the other person the money, so it is not included during the property division phase of the divorce. Then, once the divorce is over, the friend simply returns the money, effectively shielding it from division.
Hiding Valuable Items Such as Jewelry
Some divorcing spouses literally hide valuable assets such as jewelry, fine art, or electronics. They may stash the items at a friend’s house or put them in a safe deposit box at the bank. Whether a spouse is hiding money or property, the result is the same: the other spouse is robbed of his or her fair share of the assets’ value.
Hiding Money in a Business or Professional Practice
Businesses are treated just like any other asset during a divorce. This means that if a spouse purchased or established a business during the marriage, the business is most likely considered a marital asset. The main exception to this would be if the spouse specifically excluded the business from the marital estate through a prenuptial agreement.
If a business is considered a marital asset, both spouses are entitled to an equitable share of the business’s value.
Unfortunately, if a divorcing spouse owns a business, he or she has an even greater number of options for hiding assets and manipulating the outcome of the divorce. A business owner could hire fake employees or fabricate purchases to make it look like the business spent money that it did not actually spend and is, therefore, less profitable than it actually is. These tactics can be used to undervalue the business and prevent the other spouse from receiving a fair share of the business’s value.
Hiding Money in Offshore Accounts
High-net-worth individuals getting divorced may transfer money to tax havens in the Cayman Islands, Switzerland, Belize, or other countries. It is much harder to find money when it is held in another country. However, divorcing spouses are expected to disclose all of their assets and income, including assets in offshore accounts.
One of the simplest ways that a spouse hides money during a divorce is by underreporting his or her income. A spouse may have a second job that he or she fails to disclose or receives cash payments under the table. Forensic accounting is a process through which financial accounts are carefully analyzed to look for signs of undisclosed income. If you suspect that your spouse is lying about his or her income or hiding assets during divorce, make sure to work with a divorce attorney familiar with these types of issues.
Contact our Lombard Divorce Lawyers
The outcome of your divorce case should be based on accurate financial information. If you are getting divorced and your spouse is trying to prevent you from receiving your fair share of the marital estate, contact our Lombard divorce attorneys for help. Call [[title]] at [[phone]] for a confidential consultation.