A couple seeking a legal separation or divorce must divide property in a manner that is considered equitable. Sometimes, a couple will be able to come to an agreement on their own—often through mediation—about how property should be divided; other times, a judge may issue a court order about property division.
In addition to the division of property, a spouse may also be ordered to pay child support or maintenance. As such, making sure all assets are fully disclosed during the divorce proceedings is extremely important.
How Assets Affect a Divorce Settlement
The assets of each party in a divorce can affect three major components of a divorce settlement. These are:
- Property division;
- Spousal maintenance; and
- Child support.
In regards to property division, all property that is acquired over the course of a marriage is considered to be marital property, and it is divisible at the time of divorce as such. If assets are not fully disclosed by one spouse, then the other spouse may be unaware of his or her right to that asset in a way that is equitable. Furthermore, the type and amount of assets of each party in a divorce can also affect the amount of a spousal maintenance or child support payment.
In regards to both, the financial resources of each party are heavily considered in making a determination. One party in a divorce may attempt to hide assets in order to avoid (or receive) alimony or a higher (or lower) child support order.
Tips for Finding Hidden Assets
Uncovering all assets during a divorce is critical to receiving a fair property division, child support, and maintenance order. Following the filing of a petition for dissolution of marriage in Illinois, both parties have the right to serve discovery requests. The discovery process is a legal means of gaining access to important financial documents and transaction histories. During the divorce discovery process, a person can request information about:
- A spouse’s separate property;
- Joint property;
- Tax returns;
- 401(k) statements;
- Stock option plans; and
- All other financial documents or relevant materials.
In fact, you even have the right to request access to a spouse’s safety deposit box, as well as any other pertinent financial records.
The discovery process can be drawn out and confusing, especially if you are not trained in law and finance. For assistance, it is best to seek the counsel of a financial or tax expert, particularly when pouring over tax returns, loan applications, and financial statements. An attorney who is experienced in asset investigation can also be helpful.
How a Divorce and Family Law Attorney Can Help
Do not let your spouse get away with hiding assets during the divorce process. If you suspect hidden assets in a divorce, do not hesitate to take legal action by calling an attorney. The experienced DuPage County divorce lawyers at Sullivan Taylor & Gumina, P.C. are ready to help you. For help understanding property division, alimony, child support, and assets in divorce, call us today at 630-665-7676.