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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 attorneysDuring a divorce, you and your spouse will—through negotiation, mediation, or litigation—decide how your assets should be allocated between you. Before you can make this decision, appraisers must determine the value of the properties in question. Since there is no exact method for doing this, appraisers choose from a handful of acceptable techniques. The valuation process plays a significant role in determining how you push for your fair share during a divorce. Dividing marital assets is only part of a divorce, and you will need excellent legal counsel to effectively move through the process.

Methods of Appraising Property Values in Illinois

When determining the value of real estate, appraisers usually use one of the following three options, or a combination of the three, to reach an appropriate result:

Cost Approach

When using the cost approach, real estate appraisers try to judge an accurate value for a property by measuring what it would cost to build a reproduction or replacement for any improvements done to that property and subtract whatever depreciation may be evident. When these values are paired with the land's estimated value, an appraiser may reach an accurate valuation. 

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DuPage County family law attorneysLegally, it does not matter which spouse files for divorce in Illinois. The spouse that files for divorce is called the petitioner (or plaintiff), and the other is the defendant (or respondent.) Technically, this terminology has no impact on the outcome of a divorce. However, which spouse files for divorce can have subtle, largely subjective effects on the divorce proceedings, a few examples of which we will offer in this post. If your spouse filed for divorce or you plan to, do not hesitate to speak with a divorce attorney so that you can be better prepared to pursue a fair and sustainable outcome.

Why the Timing of Divorce Filing Could Matter

Before understanding the psychological consequences of filing for divorce, it is worth understanding how the time when a petitioner files can affect the divorce process. First, the court will most likely use the date of filing to determine the value of a couple’s assets that must be divided. If you wait too long to file, your spouse can dissipate your marital assets to try to prevent you from getting your fair share. It is possible to recover dissipated assets, but doing so is not always easy.

Also, the Illinois spousal maintenance formula uses the time of filing to calculate the duration of payments. A court will multiply the length of a marriage by other variables to determine the length of maintenance awards. Therefore, if you wait longer to file, the spouse responsible for paying alimony will have to do so for longer. Depending on which end of the relationship you are on, this may or may not benefit you.

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