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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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