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DuPage County divorce attorney dissipation of assets

Property division is often one of the most consequential aspects of divorce – especially for high-net-worth individuals. Some divorcing spouses reduce the value of the marital estate through excessive or careless spending or even intentionally destroying assets. This is referred to as the “dissipation of assets.” When a spouse spends money or property on a purpose not related to the marriage immediately prior to divorce, the other spouse may be entitled to compensation for the dissipated assets. Through a dissipation claim, you may be able to recover the value of assets your soon-to-be ex-spouse spent on extravagant vacations, gifts, or other unnecessary purchases.

Illinois Law Regarding Dissipation of Assets

The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) contains a provision defining dissipation and addressing how wasted or destroyed assets should be handled in a divorce. Dissipative spending is excessive spending that does not benefit the marriage in any way. So, spending money on groceries, home repairs, or other necessary, reasonable expenses would not qualify as dissipation. Examples of dissipation may include:

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Naperville divorce attorneysA fair divorce settlement or judgment is only possible if both parties are honest and forthcoming about their assets, income, business revenue, debt, and other financial information. However, some spouses intentionally hide assets in an effort to make their financial situation look worse than it actually is. They may do this in an attempt to avoid splitting the value of the assets during property division, to pay less in child support, or to lessen their spousal maintenance obligation. If you suspect that your spouse will try to hide assets or otherwise lie about finances during your divorce, speak to a skilled divorce lawyer as soon as possible.

Your Spouse Refuses to Give You Access to Financial Information

One sign that your spouse is currently hiding assets or is planning to lie about assets during your divorce is refusing to let you access financial documents. Most lawyers encourage spouses to gather financial documents like tax returns and bank statements when preparing to divorce. If your spouse is suddenly hesitant to let you view these documents or moves financial documents or computer files to a new location, this may be a sign that he or she is hiding something. If your spouse reroutes mail like bank statements to a new address or P.O. box, this may also be a sign that the documents contain information that he or she does not want you to see.  

Property Goes Missing or Your Spouse “Loans” Money to a Friend

Another way that spouse may hide assets is to sell or “give away” money or property to another individual. Spouses sometimes sell or give away property in an effort to reduce their net worth prior to a divorce. Often, a spouse gives property or money away temporarily and then recoups the property after the divorce is finalized. Spouses may accomplish the same goal by intentionally overpaying the IRS. By paying more taxes that he or she actually owes, he or she temporarily lowers his or her financial resources. The spouse recovers the money after the divorce when the IRS issues a tax refund.

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DuPage County divorce attorneysEvery state has different requirements for divorcing couples. Illinois is unique in that a court may require a divorcing couple to attend parenting education classes before finalizing their divorce. This recent legislation is designed to prioritize a child’s well-being as they transition into a divorced family. If you are going through a divorce and have children, you should assume that you will be required to attend these classes and prepare accordingly. Sometimes, parents go into separation with vastly different ideas of what is best for their child, so attend your sessions with an open mind and take the necessary compromises to protect your child’s future as much as you can.

Illinois Parenting Education Classes

Illinois Supreme Court Rule 924, the Parenting Education Requirement, states:

“Each circuit or county shall create or approve a parenting education program consisting of at least four hours covering the subjects of parenting time and allocation of parental responsibilities and their impact on children.”

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