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What can you do if your spouse has hidden assets from the courts?

| Nov 17, 2020 | Divorce |

Like most states, Illinois tries to be fair to both spouses in a contested divorce situation. If people ending their marriage don’t have pre-existing agreements about how to split up their property, the courts step in to make those important financial decisions.

When applying the equitable distribution standard, family law judges look over the inventory of a couple’s assets and debts from during their marriage. The judge can then use that information to make appropriate decisions about the fairest way to split up the property shared by the spouses.

Many people getting a divorce are eager to secure favorable terms for themselves, even if it means playing dirty. Some people choose to hide valuable property or bank accounts from their spouse and the courts during a divorce. If you suspect that your spouse is one of those people, you may have to take extra steps in order to secure a reasonable and fair property settlement. 

You can show the courts evidence of the problem

You can’t just tell the courts that you suspect your spouse has hidden property from you and ask them to award you additional assets in the divorce. You will need some kind of evidence, whether it is an account statement from a hidden savings account that you never knew existed during your marriage or financial records dug up by a forensic accountant assisting you with your divorce.

You need verifiable evidence of hidden property, secret accounts or other forms of financial dishonesty in order to secure a fair outcome when your spouse plays dirty.

The courts may change their approach to property division

Most of the time, marital misconduct has very little, if any, impact on how the courts split your marital property in an Illinois divorce. However, when one spouse intentionally misrepresents their financial circumstances to the courts, that can impact how the judge rules in your divorce.

In some cases, the judge may even specifically penalize a spouse for dishonest behavior by awarding some or even all of a hidden asset to the spouse previously unaware of its existence. Although it may take a lot of work to locate and document hidden assets in a pending divorce, doing so can often be beneficial.

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View the profile of Illinois Family Law Attorney Alex Fawell
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