Hiding Assets in Plain Sight

hiding assets, Illinois divorce attorneyFor some, the most painful part of a divorce is the division of the marital property. Illinois law requires judges to divide the marital property equitably. This means dividing the property fairly based a set of factors. However, if your spouse is hiding assets, you are at a disadvantage. You may get less than your fair share of the marital property. While there are many ways to hide assets, often they are in plain sight if you know where to look.

Electronic Discovery

One favorite technique of fraudsters is to withdraw money over time from the marital bank accounts and deposit the money in a secret account. Sometimes the secret account will be in the name of a friend or romantic partner to help avoid detection. But, because almost everything is now online, chances are that your spouse either checks the balance online or gets regular account updates via email.

Electronic discovery is when you ask for emails, text messages, and other data stored in computers, cell phones, and even remote servers. By analyzing the electronic data it may be possible to find hidden assets.

New Purchases

Another trick some people will try and pull is to buy something expensive and portable. This could be jewelry, art, coins, or anything that holds its value. The expensive object is then hidden away or given to a friend for safekeeping. After the divorce, the plan is usually to sell the expensive item and deposit the cash into a new account.

However, just like with the bank account example above, it is tough to make any major transaction without leaving some kind of paper or electronic trail. A forensic accountant may be able to analyze financial records and find that a large amount of money is missing. Once you let the court know about the missing funds, the other side will be required to explain where the missing funds went.

A Friend’s Vacation House

Some people will buy expensive gifts for friends, such as a vacation house, or simply transfer existing real estate into the name of a friend. But, with a thorough examination of all of the records, it will be hard to hide such a large expense forever. Often, the spouse trying to hide assets by putting real estate in somebody else’s name will make other purchases or other transactions related to the real estate that show up on credit card statements or other financial records.

If it is discovered that one of the spouses was attempting to hide assets he or can be found in contempt of court, possibly be charged with perjury or even fraud. Most directly, however, they will also have to pay back the hidden funds to their spouse or the marital estate as appropriate. The court may even take the fraud into account when dividing the marital property.

When you have reason to believe your spouse may be hiding assets from you, it is important to work with an experienced Aurora divorce attorney. Our team will help you track down the missing property, as well as any and all sources of hidden income. Call [[phone]] to schedule your confidential consultation at the Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C. today.

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?ActID=2086&ChapterID=59&SeqStart=6000000&SeqEnd=8300000

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