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dupage county divorce lawyerAll divorces can be difficult, but high-net-worth divorces are inclined to be more complicated, laborious, expensive, and lengthy because of the division of high-valued assets. A high-net-worth divorce attorney will uncover any hidden and devalued assets possessed by the opposing party. Once discovered and classified, a high-net-worth divorce attorney will advocate for the equitable division of marital and non-marital property. A high-net-worth divorce lawyer will also tackle the more commonplace disputes, such as alimony, child support, child custody, and parenting time.

Although marital agreements can mitigate the complexities of high-net-worth divorces, they can sometimes be deemed invalid. For instance, a spouse can claim the signing of a marital agreement was under coercion. So, a high-net-worth divorce attorney will scrupulously evaluate all assets and agreements.

Seven Common Conflicts of High-Net-Worth Divorce

  • Hidden assets – A spouse may hide assets under a different name or entity throughout the marriage or during the divorce proceedings. Such assets could include land, real estate, jewelry, art, a plane, or even a yacht
  • Devalued assets – Deliberately depreciating the value of rare antiques and art by falsifying the original price or damaging the property is a tactic a spouse may use to undermine premarital assets. 
  • Employer collusion – This entails a spouse colluding with an employer to postpone stock options or bonuses until after the divorce with the intent to hide marital funds.
  • Redirected financial statements – Changing mailing addresses of a bank, credit card, and other financial statements to be sent to secret post office boxes or email accounts may indicate a spouse’s intent to hide funds.
  • Overpaid income taxes – To defer a tax refund until after the divorce, a spouse might overpay current income taxes.
  • Pay down debt – For purposes of hiding funds, a spouse might pay down mortgages, credit cards, or loans, resulting in a reduction of outstanding principal.
  • Fraudulent conveyance – Covertly transferring assets to another legal entity, like a corporation, could be deemed fraudulent.  Another example of fraudulent conveyance is selling assets, such as a rare painting, to a relative or friend only to repurchase it after the finalized divorce decree.

How to Proceed   

Marital and non-marital high-net assets could include businesses, real estate, stock, trust funds, royalties, and inheritance.  Every high-net-worth divorce is unique and encumbered with challenges as extensive as they are diverse. For instance, an alternate payee, the non-employee or non-contributing spouse, could be the sole proprietor of a non-marital family inheritance that is in dispute by the opposing party. Along with protecting assets and advocating for fair asset division, high-net-worth divorce lawyers are also disciplined in inheritance matters. 

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Il divorce lawyerConflict is a natural part of divorce for more couples. Even with the best intentions, it can be very difficult to reach a compromise on important issues like asset and debt division because the consequences can be serious and long-lasting. Illinois requires marital assets to be divided fairly, rather than equally, and “fair” can feel different to each spouse.

Sometimes, frustration at the marital asset division process will lead one spouse to try to hide assets in an effort to put themselves in a better position after the divorce. This is a serious mistake that usually backfires, leaving the spouse who hid assets in a much worse situation than they would have been if they had just followed the law from the beginning. Here are three serious consequences for hiding assets in an Illinois divorce.

Perjury and Contempt of Court

Depositions are an important part of divorce proceedings. They are essentially an out-of-court testimony proceeding in which the testifying spouse is under a legal obligation to tell the truth. If a spouse lies and is caught, he or she can be changed with perjury - that is, lying under oath. A judge can also find someone in criminal contempt of court for obstructing the court’s purposes. Both of these can result in criminal charges, which may even lead to a trial. A spouse who risks hiding assets is risking criminal charges on their record.

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IL divorce lawyerDividing a divorcing couple’s property, money, and debt is an important part of the divorce process. It is also one of the most complex aspects to many divorce cases. If you are getting divorced, you will need to identify each of your assets as either non-marital assets or marital assets. Both spouses have a right to a share of marital property whereas non-marital property belongs only to one spouse. Identifying, valuing, and dividing assets in a divorce can be further complicated by factors such as:

Non-Disclosure of Assets and Debts

Before a married couple can divide their assets and debts during divorce, they must take a full inventory of those assets and debts. Each spouse is asked to provide a financial affidavit listing their property, liabilities, income, and expenses. This financial disclosure may include bank account balances, real estate, stocks, investments, retirement accounts, loans, mortgages, and much more. Financial data from the affidavit influences everything from property division to child support, so accuracy is crucial.

Unfortunately, some spouses intentionally or intentionally leave out information on their affidavits. Hiding assets, undervaluing property, overvaluing debts, or other forms of deception during divorce are not only illegal, but they also increase the complexity of the divorce significantly. Formal discovery tools including depositions and subpoenas are often needed to uncover accurate financial information when a spouse lies on his or her financial affidavit.

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IL divorce lawyerThe division of property and debt is often one of the most important aspects of divorce. If you are ending your marriage, you may have questions about how your shared assets will be divided between you and your spouse. If you are like many soon-to-be-divorced people, you are especially concerned with ownership of the family home. Your house, condominium, or other residence is not only a valuable asset in the financial sense, it is also valuable for sentimental and personal reasons. If you are a parent, the family home may also represent stability and familiarity to your children. Understandably, the question of who gets the house is often one of the top concerns in a divorce case.

Illinois Law Regarding the Marital Home

The court does not always allocate marital assets in a divorce. In most cases, the spouses are able to reach a property division settlement outside of court with help from their attorneys. Some couples decide to sell the home and divide the profits from the sale evenly. Other couples decide that one spouse will keep the home while the other spouse keeps property of equivalent value.

However, if a couple does not reach an agreement, property is allocated according to the rules set forth by Illinois law. Illinois courts allocate marital property to spouses in a manner that is equitable, or fair, according to the spouses’ financial circumstances, employability, child custody arrangements, and other factors.

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naperville divorce lawyerWhen a couple has decided to divorce, part of that process involves dividing their assets and debts in an equitable manner. As you go through and list the assets you and your spouse have, one asset that you may overlook are any retirement accounts either of you may have. Illinois recognizes retirement funds accumulated during the marriage as marital assets, so they become part of the marital estate and are divisible in the divorce.

Dividing Retirement Accounts

The division of retirement accounts can be complex because of the federal and state laws and regulations that may apply. There is also the issue of ownership of the funds that are in the account. Any funds that were accumulated in a retirement account prior to the couples marriage is considered separate property and does not become part of the divorce settlement. It is only the funds that accumulated while the couple were married that are distributable. This is why it is important to have a skilled Naperville divorce attorney representing you, to ensure your best interests are protected.

Ideally, the spouses will agree to offset assets and the retirement account will maintain intact. For example, one spouse may agree to take sole ownership of a vacation property the couple owns that has the same value of the other spouse’s retirement account. If both spouses have retirement accounts, then another option is that they agree that they will each keep their own accounts separate from the marital estate and any divorce settlement.

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