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Divorce can be complicated, especially when you are dealing with a high net worth and a spouse who has attempted to hide assets. Though it is difficult to keep financial secrets from your spouse these days, it does not stop people from trying. According to a report by CreditCards.com, nearly 15 million adults have a credit card or bank account that their live-in partner does not know about. Though it can be tempting to hide assets from one’s spouse during a divorce, it is not a good idea - in fact, it is illegal. If you think your spouse may be concealing financial resources during your divorce, here are five ways you can begin looking for hidden assets:

1. Look at Tax Returns

The first place you should begin looking for hidden assets is in your taxes. Income tax returns from at last the past five years are a good place to start. Look at where income has been coming from, whether that be your spouse’s job, interest, dividends, or capital gains or losses. If something seems off on the tax return, talk to your attorney about it.

2. Check Bank Statements

Another place to look could be bank or credit card statements. When examining these statements, you should look for any large transfers or withdrawals, especially patterns such as regular transfers or withdrawals of small amounts of money. Look for any payments made to family members or friends or custodial accounts for children. Also, look for any ATM withdrawals and note the amounts withdrawn - are these normal spending habits, or could they be an indication that your spouse is withdrawing and concealing marital funds?

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Skokie divorce property division lawyerWhen considering marital assets that get divided during a divorce, most people think of houses, cars, bank accounts, and retirement accounts. However, there are actually many more assets that divorcing couples may have to figure out how to divide. Sometimes, these odd assets can be forgotten about when couples focus on more obvious and expensive assets, but taking care of the division of these assets early on can save a headache in the future.

Marital and Non-Marital Property

The first step in dividing any assets in a marriage is determining which assets can actually be divided. Anything deemed marital property is subject to division; anything deemed non-marital property is not. In the state of Illinois, the Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act dictates what is marital and non-marital property. Marital property is defined as any property, including debts or other obligations, that was acquired by either spouse during the marriage--anything else is non-marital property.

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Lincolnwood collaborative law attorneyCollaborative divorce has been around since the 1980s, and it has been practiced in Illinois since 2002. The Collaborative Process Act went into effect at the beginning of 2018, officially recognizing collaborative divorce as an option to couples who want to legally separate. The act breaks down guidelines for couples to follow when they decide to pursue the collaborative divorce model, such as signing a collaborative contract and retaining certified collaborative divorce attorneys.

What Is Collaborative Divorce?

The collaborative divorce process begins when the couple and their collaborative divorce attorneys sign a legally binding contract to agree to resolve their marital disputes outside of the courtroom. The point of collaborative divorce is to avoid litigation and keep control over assets, property, child custody agreements, spousal maintenance, or any other issue that may arise during the divorce process.

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LincolnwoodWhen married couples decide to get divorced, one spouse may be at a disadvantage, and the adjustment to living on a single income can result in difficulty making ends meet. However, according to Illinois law, when one spouse earns a substantially higher income than the other, they may be required to pay spousal maintenance (which is also called spousal support or alimony) to their former partner.

Maintenance allows a spouse to maintain a standard of living after their divorce that is similar to what they were used to during their marriage, and it can be especially helpful for spouses who decided to make sacrifices to their own career in favor of raising children or who helped their partner advance their career and increase their earning potential. However, spouses should be aware of some recent changes to Illinois’ divorce laws which affect maintenance awards.

Updated Guidelines For Duration of Spousal Support

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Elmhurst divorce lawyer alcohol substance abuseAlcohol and drug abuse are issues that affect millions of people across the United States, and substance abuse is often a factor in the breakdown of a marriage. Studies have shown that there are nearly 25 million people in the U.S. who are in a marriage in which a spouse is an alcoholic or drug addict, and around 7% of divorces are the result of substance abuse issues.

If your spouse has issues with substance abuse, you will likely want to do everything you can to help them receive the treatment they need and salvage your relationship. However, sometimes divorce may be the only option, especially if your and your children’s safety and financial security are at risk. If you are planning to divorce a substance-abusing spouse, you should be aware of the following concerns:

Grounds for Divorce in Illinois

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