Financial issues addressed during a divorce can be complex, especially when a couple has a high net worth. In these cases, it is not uncommon for one spouse to attempt to hide assets in order to gain an unfair advantage when marital property is divided. Hidden assets can have significant implications on the outcome of a high asset divorce, affecting everything from the allocation of assets and debts to spousal support and child support. If you suspect that your spouse may be hiding assets, it is essential to work with an experienced attorney who can help you uncover the truth.
The Importance of Full Financial Disclosure
During the divorce process, both parties are required to provide each other with a full financial disclosure. This means that each spouse must disclose all income, assets, debts, and expenses accurately and honestly. However, some people may try to manipulate this process by intentionally concealing or undervaluing certain assets.
This behavior is particularly prevalent in high net worth divorces where there are substantial marital assets at stake. Hidden assets can include offshore bank accounts, real estate investments under different names or entities, undisclosed business interests or partnerships, and valuable collections or art pieces that may be kept secret from the other spouse.
The Impact of Hidden Assets on Property Division
Illinois courts follow equitable distribution laws when dividing marital property during divorce proceedings. Equitable distribution does not necessarily mean equal; instead, it aims for a fair division based on numerous factors such as each party’s contribution towards acquiring property, the future earning potential of each party, the resources available to each spouse, and each party’s ongoing needs. When one spouse attempts to hide assets, this can undermine the court’s ability to make informed decisions regarding property division matters.
If hidden assets go undiscovered during the divorce process because of fraudulent behavior, one spouse could potentially receive a greater share of the assets than they are legally entitled to. To ensure a fair outcome, it is crucial to work with skilled divorce attorneys and financial experts who can conduct thorough investigations into a family’s finances and ensure that all financial issues will be addressed correctly.
Uncovering Hidden Assets
Discovering hidden assets requires careful investigation and analysis. An experienced attorney may employ various strategies to uncover any attempts at hiding money or property, including:
- Full financial discovery: An attorney will request all relevant financial documents from the other spouse, including tax returns, bank statements, investment portfolios, business records, etc. These documents can provide valuable insights into undisclosed assets or income sources.
- Hiring financial experts: Forensic accountants or other financial professionals can examine complex financial records in detail and identify any discrepancies that could indicate hidden assets.
- Tracing transactions: By examining bank statements and conducting comprehensive reviews of financial transactions over time, an attorney may identify irregularities that suggest hidden assets or attempts at asset dissipation.
- Social media and electronic evidence: In today’s digital age, social media platforms such as Facebook or Instagram may provide evidence of lavish spending habits or activities that conflict with a spouse’s claims regarding their income or financial resources.
The Legal Consequences
If a court determines that one party has intentionally concealed assets, this may result in severe repercussions for the dishonest spouse, including changes to a property division order, the requirement to pay the other spouse’s attorney’s fees, or other sanctions imposed by the court. In some cases, a spouse who has concealed assets may even face criminal charges for perjury or fraud.
Contact a Kane County High Net Worth Divorce Lawyer
If you suspect that your spouse is concealing assets, it is crucial to seek legal representation from an experienced attorney who has experience handling complex financial concerns during divorce cases. At Mirabella, Kincaid, Frederick & Mirabella, LLC., our St. Charles property division attorneys will work diligently to protect your rights and interests throughout the divorce process. To set up an initial attorney meeting and learn how we can assist you during your divorce, contact us at 630-665-7300.