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IL divorce lawyerFinances play a huge role in any divorce. Most married couples have combined their financial lives in such a way that undoing this financial entanglement is often quite an undertaking. Division of assets is especially complicated when the couple owns complex assets such as a family business, real estate, investments, trust accounts, or stocks. High net worth and complex assets such as these also make it easier for a spouse to underreport assets and income. If you believe that your spouse may try to hide assets or lie about finances during divorce, reach out to an experienced divorce lawyer right away.

Methods of Hiding Assets and Underreporting Income

In order for a married couple to fairly divide their marital property and resolve other divorce issues, each spouse must be truthful regarding his or her finances. Unfortunately, some divorcing spouses attempt to manipulate property division, spousal support, and child support in their favor by lying about their income and assets. There are almost countless ways that a spouse may falsify his or her financial information to sway the divorce settlement in his or her favor. He or she may transfer assets from joint accounts to accounts that the other spouse does not know about or even transfer assets to friends or colleagues. Some spouses intentionally overpay the IRS in an effort to shelter funds from being divided during divorce. Business owners may delay invoicing clients, fabricate fake expenses, or significantly underreport business revenue.

Red Flags of Financial Deceit During Divorce

Hidden assets, unreported income, and exaggerated expenses can substantially change the divorce settlement that a spouse receives. Divorcing individuals who have allowed their spouses to handle all of the financial decisions and money management are particularly vulnerable to being taken advantage of in this way. It is possible that your spouse may be hiding assets if he or she:

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Illinois divorce attorney

What do you think of when you think of a private investigator? You might think of a detective in a trench coat lurking in the shadows. While the image of private investigators in the eye of Hollywood is exaggerated, the actual job of a private investigator is exactly what it sounds like — to investigate. A private investigator might seem unnecessary during a divorce, but having a private investigator on your team can actually be beneficial. Here are a few ways a private investigator can be of use during your Illinois divorce:

  • They can investigate a spouse who might be cheating. The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act states that decisions during the divorce will be made “without regard to marital misconduct.” This means the court cannot take into consideration the fact that a spouse committed adultery when it comes to issues such as asset division and child custody. However, a private investigator may be able to determine if a spouse dissipated or “wasted” marital assets on a lover. If it is found that your spouse dissipated assets, the court will adjust the division of assets accordingly.
  • They can help alleviate child custody concerns. Your utmost priority during a divorce and in general is the wellbeing of your children. In some cases, you may be concerned about the safety of your children during your spouse’s parenting time. If you are concerned that your spouse is being reckless or endangering your children, a private investigator can help.
  • They can help identify hidden assets. Another role a private investigator can play is by looking through your financial records and making sure everything looks correct. Before you divide your assets, you should hire a private investigator to determine if your spouse is hiding assets from you or not. A private investigator has the skills needed to notice errors on tax returns or bank statements that could suggest hidden assets.
  • They can ensure your spouse does not have you under surveillance. If your spouse was controlling during your marriage, there is a good chance they could also be controlling during the divorce. Even if they were not controlling during the marriage, divorce can change some spouses, pushing them to spy on you. A private investigator has the tools and technology needed to discover if your spouse has been tracking your location or monitoring your electronic devices.

A DuPage County Divorce Attorney Can Guide You Through the Process

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Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer, IL legal separation lawyerIllinois is an equitable distribution state, meaning that when you get a divorce, not everything you and your spouse acquired, such as property and assets, will be divided equally.

If you and your spouse cannot come to an agreement on how to divide your property and assets and decide to take your divorce to court, the judge will consider certain marital circumstances on how to divide your property, such as:

However, if your spouse is hiding assets from you in hopes they will not have to split it with you, things can get even more complicated.

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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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hidden-assetsDuring divorce, both spouses have a right to equitable division of marital property. While this does not necessarily mean that everything will be split 50/50, each spouse is entitled to a fair and equitable portion of the assets that the couple own. However, divorcing spouses often try to hide assets from each other in hopes that they will not have to share monetary funds or other property with their spouse. This is especially common in cases of high net worth divorce.

If you suspect that your spouse may be concealing any money or property, you should look in the following places to find out whether there are any hidden assets:

  1. Tax returns - You should obtain a complete copy of your joint tax return, which can help you get a full picture of your spouse’s income, any interest or dividends they earned, and the deductions they have taken. In some cases, a spouse may over-pay the taxes they owe, allowing them to receive a larger tax return after the divorce has been finalized.
  2. Bank accounts - Be sure to review the complete statements for any joint bank accounts. Look for transfers to the accounts of friends or family members, or to accounts that have been created in children’s names.
  3. Business expenses - Spouses who own a business often use them to hide assets. They may pay a salary to a nonexistent employee or delay signing contracts or charging clients for services until after the divorce. Be sure to review business bank statements and income and expense reports to look for any discrepancies.
  4. New purchases - Spouses often use marital funds to purchase physical assets such as artwork or collectibles and then under-report the value of these items when dividing marital property. Look for any recent purchases that your spouse has made, including antiques, furniture, or jewelry.
  5. Fake debt and purchases - A spouse may claim that they owe money to a friend or family member or make payments to other people for nonexistent products or services. Then, after the divorce has been finalized, these people will transfer the money back to your spouse. Be on the lookout for any suspicious payments or loans.

Contact a Lincolnwood Divorce Lawyer

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