You knew the day was coming. It had been building up for years, until finally, the two of you could barely tolerate being in the same room together. You were actually relieved when your husband moved out last week. Now that you have had time to take a few deep breaths, you know that you need to get started on your divorce.
After more than 20 years of marriage, the two of you accumulated a substantial amount of assets. You both have enjoyed very successful careers, which allowed you purchase more than one vacation property, start lucrative investment accounts and build up a significant amount of wealth. These assets will all be part of the divorce settlement and subject to marital property laws in Illinois.
You think that you know about everything that the two of you purchased during the course of your marriage. What if you actually know very little about your spouse's financial maneuvers? Could your husband be hiding assets? How will this affect what you will receive in the divorce settlement?
It's more common than you think
Hiding assets happens more than most people expect. Since it is also extremely sneaky, unethical and illegal, the courts usually take a hard stance when they catch a divorcing spouse doing it. In your particular case, you may be at a higher risk for this to happen. You and your husband have a complex financial portfolio, and it can be extremely difficult to keep track of everything it contains.
Keeping track of life insurance policies, retirement and investment accounts and other property is complicated. Divorce can open a door for your husband to hide income or assets. One of the key things you can do to stay alert for unethical behavior is to hire an experienced divorce attorney. It is important to have an advocate to help protect your interests and rights.
How the dirty deeds get done
There are a number of ways your husband can undervalue or hide marital assets. For example, he may hide cash or other items of value in a safe deposit box. He also might underreport income on tax returns or even overpay taxes in order to get the refund in only his name after the divorce is finalized.
Another common strategy is deferring his salary or bonuses. This will keep the income off the books during the settlement process. There is also the possibility that he has transferred stock or other property into the name of a family member for the duration of the divorce proceedings.
Unfortunately, the opportunities to hide assets are limited only by his imagination. In addition, the burden of proof will fall on you. This is why it is important to take every precaution and remain alert for indications of unscrupulous behavior. Look over your investment account statements for the last several years for signs of stock transfers. Examine bank statements for large cash withdrawals and out-of-the-ordinary purchases.
If you are planning on divorcing and you think your husband is hiding assets, be sure you have a team behind you to protect your interests. Contact a local Illinois attorney for advice on handling your divorce.