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Wealthy spouses may try to hide assets during divorce

The divorce process in Illinois and elsewhere can be stressful for people at all income levels, but those with high net worths may especially be concerned about what they may lose during their divorce proceedings. In almost every divorce case involving high-value assets, one person is usually more prepared than his or her spouse. The better prepared person might even attempt to protect certain assets, as well as mitigate family wealth estimations for his or her benefit.

There are standards that are generally accepted for protecting one's assets during a divorce. However, a wealthy spouse may try to employ tactics aimed at circumventing or obscuring the facts. For instance, wealthy individuals may hide or horde assets, particularly when income comes from a cash business.

The other spouse may benefit from taking advantage of forensic accounting efforts, which may help him or her locate any buried assets. Forensic accountants will search for anomalies or discrepancies, including unusual title transfers or even extraordinary transactions taking place between entities. These accountants may additionally help with valuing assets that are illiquid or are lightly traded.

Valuations and family finances are often at the center of divorce conflicts; however, understanding one's rights may help to avoid being cheated during the proceedings. If two people cannot amicably reach a settlement on the division of assets and property, they will have to take the matter to a judge, who will ultimately decide how their assets will be split. Both parties during a divorce in Illinois have the right to fight for what they believe to be their fair share of marital property.

Source: Forbes, "Ex Marks The Spot -- The Search For Hidden Assets In A Billionaire Divorce", Russ Alan Prince, Feb. 17, 2015

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