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Financial Aspects of Divorce

Asset Discovery is Critical

The key to discovering hidden assets is knowing where to look. Highly qualified experts such as forensic accountants, business valuation specialists, appraisers, are able to help our attorneys trace bank account deposits and withdrawals, examine tax records, and conduct lifestyle audits to expose hidden assets.

Electronic discovery is becoming an increasingly common way to uncover hidden assets through electronic sources including, but not limited to: (1) home computers; (2) email records; (3) text messages; and (4) social networking sites.

Common types of hidden marital property include:

  • Undisclosed accounts – one spouse may have a bank, brokerage, or retirement account that has not been disclosed to you.
  • Cash – a spouse may have cash income that is not reported on his or her tax returns.
  • Safety deposit boxes – one spouse may keep gold, cash, jewelry, or other assets in a safety deposit box without your knowledge.
  • Collectibles – a spouse may have hidden or undervalued a collection or artwork.
  • Asset transfers – your spouse may transfer cash or assets to someone else through fabricated loans or gifts.
  • Deferred income – a spouse may defer compensation, such as stock options or bonuses, until after the divorce has been finalized.
  • Business assets – business owners have many chances to understate cash and hide or defer business income.

Prior to any attempt to collect information about your spouse’s finances, it is in your best interest to reach out to one of our attorneys so they can collect information about your spouse’s finances. Through methods of attempting to find out additional information on your own, for example, by hacking into a spouses email, you may be involving yourself illegal activity which could result in criminal charges.

Evaluation of Assets (Real Estate, Business, and Retirement)

The divorce process tends to cause uncertainty, making it a very stressful time for you and your family. This stress can be manageable with the help of an attorney who keeps you informed of the various financial consequences involved in a divorce. Outstanding debt from credit cards and loans must also be figured into the division of marital assets, but with the help from the knowledgeable attorneys at Davis Friedman, our attorneys can explain what steps can be taken to protect you from being subject to the debt that is not yours.

In Illinois, assets that were acquired during the course of a marriage are subject to “equitable division” upon divorce. Although it is important to note that “equitable” is not the same as “equal.” Some examples of assets that are subject to “equitable division” upon divorce include:

  • Equity in a home
  • Pension funds
  • Bank accounts
  • Automobiles
  • Investment portfolios; and
  • Collections.

The attorneys at Davis Friedman work to protect both your financial and legal interests throughout the divorce process and are skilled at negotiating during the division of marital assets.

Division of Property & Debt in a Divorce

The determination of the division of marital property tends to be one of the most challenging parts of a divorce. Marital property is any property owned by the parties as of the date of separation whether it be real property, personal property acquired by either or both spouses during the course of the marriage and before the date of separation. There is a large umbrella of property that is involved in the division of property and debts during your divorce, such as:

  • Houses, apartments, condominiums and the like
  • Vehicles
  • Bank accounts
  • Retirement
  • Stocks
  • Interest in a business
  • Airline points
  • Credit card points
  • iTunes accounts
  • Credit card debts
  • Loans

On the other hand, separate property is the real and personal property acquired by the spouse prior to the date of marriage or acquired by the spouse through devise, descent, or gift during the marriage. It is important to note that the separate property of each spouse is not included in the distribution of marital property.

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