Splitting up your property is often one of the biggest practical considerations in an Illinois divorce. Equitable distribution rules govern what happens if you go to court, and many spouses use the equitable distribution rule as a starting point when negotiating a settlement outside of court. The goal is a fair division of property.
Whether you litigate or settle outside of court, the discovery process is crucial to property division. Discovery involves divorcing spouses providing information to one another about their debts and assets.
What if your spouse intentionally hid property from you, your attorney and the courts?
If you catch it before you finalize the divorce
In a best-case scenario, you would discover a hidden bank account or other hidden assets before the court actually finalized the divorce. You could then present evidence of your spouse’s financial conduct to the judge overseeing your case and ask them to integrate that information into their ruling. Although spousal misconduct rarely affects property division, the courts may split property less evenly to penalize a spouse who has intentionally hidden assets.
If you discover the issue after the divorce
It is rare that the Illinois courts will revisit a property division order, but fraud during the discovery process is one of the few reasons that they would consider doing so. If you can conclusively show that your spouse lied about their assets to you or to the courts, you may be able to appeal the earlier decision and hold your spouse accountable for that misconduct. Typically, the property involved will need to have significant value to warrant such a reconsideration.
Learning more about how property division works in an Illinois divorce will help you achieve a fair outcome.