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Where to Search for Hidden Property in a High Asset Divorce

 Posted on February 15, 2021 in Divorce

Cook County divorce attorney asset division

For some couples, the process of dividing marital assets during a divorce may not require much consideration. Families with only a few large assets, such as the marital home and family cars, can divide their marital property by allocating the family home to one spouse and giving the remaining large assets to the other. But what about families who have a bit more in the bank? The property division process requires additional consideration when the financial stakes are higher. Despite Illinois law requiring the equitable distribution of assets, many divorcing couples with a large portfolio of assets can, unfortunately, attempt to conceal a portion of their property and set it aside for themselves.

Understanding the Discovery Process

The discovery process may not always be necessary when it comes to divorce. This step in the divorce process involves both legal and financial professionals taking a deep dive into the details of your finances by requesting official documents that present proof of all of the marital assets. In other words, it is an investigation tied to your divorce that ensures that both spouses are being honest about their marital assets. For couples who have an amicable relationship and can easily divide their minimal number of large assets, requiring discovery may seem unnecessary, but for those with a large amount of high net-worth assets, these additional measures should always be taken.

Locating Hidden Assets

Through the discovery process, your attorney will be looking for any signs of hidden financials that should rightfully be included in your divorce proceedings. You can also conduct your own form of preliminary research to ensure that every hidden corner has been uncovered. Most people will hide assets in one of four ways: Denying the asset exists, transferring the asset to a third party, claiming the asset was lost or creating false debt. The best place to turn to is your tax returns as they can reveal discrepancies in what was reported and help you uncover hidden assets. Start by creating your own known inventory of assets and compare this list to the information enclosed in the following areas on your tax return:

  1. Itemized deductions - This area of the tax return can reveal assets or forms of income that you were previously unaware of and are not disclosed elsewhere. For instance, deducted property taxes may reveal that your spouse has a property you did know about.

  2. Interest and dividends - This section of your tax return identifies any assets that have generated interest or dividends. Compare your known list of assets to those listed here and identify any new, undisclosed assets or the disappearance of assets.

  3. Business profits or losses - Most couples with a high amount of assets are business owners and must include information about their business earnings within their tax return. If your tax return has a depreciation schedule, it may reveal additional assets that were purchased by a related, but an unnamed business entity.

  4. Capital gains and losses - Maybe you and your spouse were big investors, but your spouse was the one who truly managed your stocks, bonds, and real estate. Reported gains or losses in this area of your tax return can help identify new, undisclosed assets or the disappearance of certain assets.

Contact a DuPage County Complex Divorce Lawyer for Help

Anyone who files for divorce should take the means necessary to hire a reputable attorney who can protect their best interests, no matter how amicable or contentious the legal proceedings may be. For those involved in a complex, high asset divorce, the stakes could not be any greater. Regardless if you were the primary household earner or did not work, you deserve your fair share of the marital assets. The legal team at Hensley Sendek Law, LLC has vast experience working with high net-worth individuals and helping them uncover assets that they were previously unaware of. Attorney Jessica Sendek is prepared to guide you through the complex legal process. Contact our skilled Warrenville divorce attorney today at 630-358-9029 to schedule your free consultation.






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