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Uncovering hidden assets during a divorce

Illinois is an equitable division state, and the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act requires marital property to be divided based on several factors, including each spouse's financial and other contributions to the marriage, the value of the assets, the duration of the marriage and any legal agreements that had been put in place prior to the dissolution.

In an effort to retain certain items, some people may try to hide assets. This can especially occur when a divorce has been in the works for quite some time. The most common types of property that people try to avoid disclosing include cash, bonds, travelers' checks, stocks and insurance policies, according to the Association of Divorce Financial Planners. 

A spouse may transfer accounts to a third party or create false documentation regarding account balances or even their existence. Spouses may allege that they have to pay back debts to friends or relatives, or they may put cash or valuables into a safety deposit box that a family member owns.

According to the ADFP, there are several ways to uncover hidden assets, and having the following information is good place to start the investigative process:

  • The spouse's full legal name and nicknames
  • The current and recent addresses for the spouse
  • The spouse's Social Security number
  • The names, addresses and birthdates of any family members how may have received assets
  • Income tax returns

If the spouse owns a business, investigators can analyze the cash flow of the company to determine if it may be used as a means to hide property.

Trying to uncover hidden assets can be a long and exhausting process, but it is one that is necessary to ensuring that both spouses receive the items they are entitled to following a divorce. A trained eye can spot the signs that someone is attempting to conceal property and shed light on the issue.

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