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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 Also, look for any ATM withdrawals and note the amounts withdrawn - are these normal spending habits, or could they be an indication that your spouse is withdrawing and concealing marital funds?

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ElmhurstEveryone who is a pet owner knows that their pet is part of the family, and to some people, their pets are even like children. For the longest time, pets were considered property in an Illinois divorce, and the spouse who got to keep a pet was mostly determined by who purchased the animal. A recent change to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act now includes a clause about pets which sets out guidelines to determine who gets the pets when spouses get a divorce.

Pets are Treated More Like Children Under New Law

A new law that took effect at the beginning of 2018 now allows pets to be treated more like dependents and less like property. This means that Illinois now recognizes that animals are living beings, and their best interests need to be taken into consideration when a separation is in order. However, it will still need to be determined whether or not pets are considered marital property before any allocation occurs. If a pet is found to be marital property, a judge can now consider certain factors when determining who gets custody of a pet in the divorce.

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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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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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stepfamily dynamic, Elmhurst Divorce AttorneyThe divorce process is never easy on anyone, even under the best of circumstances. Yet sliding into a new family blueprint when stepparents and new siblings are involved can be especially challenging. Divorce alone is an emotionally taxing experience, so adding new family dynamics to the mix can easily cause anxiety levels to spike for everyone on the home front.

Setting Your Family Up for Success

When it comes to integrating a new spouse and new children into an existing household that has already undergone big changes, successfully making it through the divorce transition is a matter of a balancing act.

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