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Lombard family law attorneyWhen you are navigating the process of divorce, you and your spouse must be open and honest about your individual finances and those you share as a couple. Without both parties being forthcoming, you will not ever be able to divide your marital property as prescribed by Illinois law. Even the court will not be able to make such decisions without all of the necessary information.

Unfortunately, is not uncommon for one spouse to hide property and revenue streams in an effort to keep them away from the asset division process. While it may be possible to track down these assets before a judgment is entered, sometimes the property will remain hidden until the divorce has been finalized. If you have recently gotten divorced and you just found out that your ex was being deceptive during the process, you can still take action to remedy the situation.

Getting Your Divorce Reopened

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Lombard divorce attorneysThe practice of forensic accounting is based on the idea that careful analysis and investigation can reveal potential problems or concerns regarding the financial situation of the individual, business, or entity in question. Forensic accountants, for example, are employed by law enforcement agencies—including the FBI—to investigate white-collar crime. They may also play a role in divorce cases—especially when the couple’s finances are complex and hidden assets could present a problem.

The Problem of Hidden Assets

Illinois law requires the marital estate of a divorcing couple to be divided between spouses in a manner that is fair and equitable. The first step in dividing marital property is determining what assets the couple owns. If both spouses are not completely open and honest regarding their finances, determining the actual extent of the marital estate will be impossible. Too often, spouse will try to hide sources of revenue or even tangible assets during a divorce hoping to keep them from his or her soon-to-be ex-partner. Hidden assets may be a particular danger if one spouse maintains full control over the couple’s finances or if a spouse owns a business that could be used to cover deceptive behavior.

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Lombard family law attorneysIt is certainly not uncommon for divorcing spouses to fight over money. In many situations, finances are the only issue that keeps the divorce process ongoing—often for many months or even years. A large number of such cases include high-net-worth couples with significant assets and business interests, which can be very complicated to divide fairly. Other cases, however, involve one spouse hiding or obfuscating assets so that he or she will not lose them during the divorce.

Manipulating the System

Illinois law requires each spouse to make a full financial disclosure during the divorce process so that all marital property can be divided equitably. Too often, one spouse will attempt to leave certain assets or revenue streams out of his or her disclosure so that they will be “safe” from division during the divorce. This type of behavior defies the intent of the law regarding equitable distribution and is taken very seriously by the courts.

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Hidden assets, Property Division, Divorce FinancesIn any divorce situation, division of property is an extremely important consideration. Whether accomplished by means of an agreement between spouses or by litigation and the decision of the court, the marital assets must be addressed, in most cases, before the divorce decree can be finalized. As with any compromise, a property division negotiation may leave one or both partners feeling a bit cheated or that the other partner ended up with more than was deserved.

In some cases, it can seem very clear that a marriage is deteriorating and headed for divorce. Such a situation may drive one partner, often the one with more control of the family’s finances, to manipulate the situation to unfairly benefit in the event of divorce. While either partner may be tempted to take advantage of the circumstances, it is often the husband who may attempt to hide cash, disguise income, or undervalue property. Hiding assets is not only detrimental to an equitable divorce settlement, it is also illegal.

Jeff Landers is a divorce financial analyst, author, and contributor to Forbes whose focus is primarily women involved in financially complicated divorces. He suggests being vigilant and aware of your family’s financial situation because if your husband is hiding assets, there may be warning signs. While it may be too late to prevent it from happening, knowing what to look for can help you better prepare for what lies ahead.

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hidden assetsWhen a couple divorces, there are a number of issues to be considered. Spousal maintenance, child support, custody/visitation, and division of assets must all be negotiated to an extent by the court presiding over the proceedings. Many of these subjects can often turn contentious, as the relationship between divorcing partners deteriorates. This, unfortunately, can lead to one party to manipulate the circumstances in such a way that the divorce agreement disproportionately benefits that person. One way in which this might be attempted is by hiding financial or other assets from the other spouse.

Hiding assets can be serious problem, as many determinations in a divorce agreement are dependent on the financial situation of each spouse. Often including cash, bonds, mutual funds, stocks, and bonds, assets which are not disclosed to the court may affect resulting orders related to alimony (called spousal maintenance in Illinois) and child support. As such, a spouse intentionally hiding or disguising financial resources not only commits a serious crime, but also can negatively the impact the well-being the couple’s children.

In many marriages, one partner maintains the majority of the household finances. That partner, often the husband, keeps a household budget, pays the bills, and may even make financial decisions about purchases and investments. While the other partner may not feel the need to get deeply involved, a situation can be created in which it can be easy and tempting for the partner with monetary control to be deceptive and hide assets.

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