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Chicago divorce attorney for hidden assetsAlthough we rarely think of marriage in these terms, spouses who get married enter into a financial partnership with each other. Consequently, a marriage represents much more than the romantic or personal connection between spouses. It also represents a melding of the spouses’ finances. Per Illinois law, spouses are entitled to an equitable portion of the marital estate during divorce. Unfortunately, the process of allocating marital property between spouses in a divorce becomes much more complicated when a spouse lies about finances. 

If you are getting divorced, it is essential to understand your rights regarding the division of marital property, child support, spousal maintenance, and other divorce issues. If you suspect that your spouse is lying about finances or may attempt to hide assets during your divorce, contact a divorce attorney for help right away.

Understanding Illinois Law Regarding Marital Assets and Divorce

Illinois is an “equitable distribution” state with regard to the division of assets during a divorce. This means that by law, you have a right to an “equitable” or fair share of the property contained in the marital estate. Most of the property and liabilities accumulated by either spouse during the marriage fall into the category of “marital property.” Marital property often includes bank account balances, retirement funds, investments, real estate, vehicles, and household items like furniture. Complex assets like stock options, mutual funds, businesses, and professional practices may also fall into the category of marital property. If an asset is considered marital property, both spouses are entitled to a share of the asset’s value.

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Elmhurst, IL high net worth divorce attorney for business valuation and hidden assetsThe divorce process can be complicated regardless of a couple’s circumstances. Spouses may be involved in contentious disputes related to any or all of the issues that will need to be resolved before they can legally dissolve their marriage. Even if a couple agrees on most of the issues in their divorce and plans to avoid conflict wherever possible, they may still encounter difficulties related to their property, incomes, and finances. This is especially true in high net worth divorce cases where spouses own valuable assets or earn high incomes. In these cases, spouses will need to address a variety of unique financial concerns. It is crucial for spouses to secure representation by an attorney who is experienced in high asset divorce cases, and with the right lawyer on their side, they can make sure their legal and financial concerns will be addressed correctly.

Property Division Issues

All divorcing couples will need to decide how they will divide their marital property, which consists of all assets and debts they acquired during their marriage. This can be an especially complex process for couples who have a high net worth, since they are likely to own a wide variety of different types of physical property and financial assets. These may include:

  • Real estate - In addition to their marital home, a couple may own vacation homes or other real estate property. These properties should be appraised to determine their value and the amount of equity the spouses own in each property. It may not be possible to equally divide these properties between the spouses, so it may be necessary to sell certain properties during divorce.

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Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer, IL child custody lawyerDivorce is a long and demanding process, but can get even more complex for high net worth couples. Unlike traditional divorces, high net worth couples must resolve issues dealing with complex taxation, support obligations, tracing of assets including offshore and international accounts, and valuation of businesses and other properties.

The following factors will help you prepare for what you might experience within your high net worth divorce:

1.    More assets, more to divide. Prior to your divorce, it is important to gather all tax (tax returns, W-9’s, I-9’s), financial, and property/asset documentation regardless of your knowledge on the subject. Documents tend to get lost after the divorce has already been filed, making this process more difficult and could put you at a disadvantage in divorce negotiations.

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