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Is Your Spouse Stashing Assets Prior to Divorce?

Posted in Divorce, Family Law on Tuesday, November 24th, 2020

If your spouse springs a divorce on you, it puts you at a disadvantage. While he or she may have been doing some planning and organizing, you’re left reeling and in no position to get up to speed when it comes to establishing your marital financials. If your spouse happens to be more involved in those financials, it can put you at an even more serious disadvantage. While you may consider your spouse very trustworthy, the stress of divorce can cause people to behave in ways that seem completely out of character. Obtaining a just division of marital property in your divorce is critical to you and your children’s future, and as such, seeking the experienced legal counsel of a dedicated family law attorney in Joliet is well-advised. 

Your Marital Assets

The marital property that you and your spouse share will be divided (upon divorce) in a manner that is deemed equitable – or fair – given the circumstances of your marriage. Marital property refers to all that property that you and your spouse acquired as a married couple – regardless of who made the purchase or whose name is on the title. That property that you owned separately when you came into the marriage and that you kept separate throughout the marriage will remain your separate property. The fact is, however, that keeping separate property completely separate isn’t as straightforward as you might imagine, and over the course of many years, separate property (or portions of separate property) can shift toward the marital property. In other words, the fair division of marital property can very quickly become very complicated.

Stashing or Diverting Assets

Some unscrupulous spouses are not above stashing, attempting to hide, giving away, or attempting to shift ownership of assets that are rightfully marital. This is not only a reprehensible move but is also unlawful, and if it’s discovered, the court can use its vast discretion to rebuke the perpetrator via divorce terms that favor the spouse who would have been financially harmed by the deceit. 

Protecting Your Financial Rights

As soon as you sense that your spouse may be considering divorce, you begin to contemplate divorce, or you are served with divorce papers, it’s time to become proactive by gathering copies of all pertinent financial documentation, including:

  • Both of your pay stubs
  • Bank statements
  • Loan applications
  • Credit card statements
  • Tax returns for at least the last three years
  • Vehicle registrations
  • Your wills or will
  • Every item in your financial portfolio, including trust documents
  • Real estate appraisals and deeds
  • Mortgage documents   
  • Profit and loss statements for any businesses you own
  • Any collections or separate pieces of value (including jewelry and art)

The more documentation that you’re able to gather early on, the better. This paper trail tells a story about your marital financials that is difficult to refute. If there’s documentation that you can’t access, it’s important to note it and to specifically request copies during the discovery phase of your divorce.  

Reach Out to an Experienced Joliet Family Law Attorney Today

The only way to achieve financial parity during divorce is to firmly establish your marital assets, and the dedicated family law attorneys at Sabuco, Beck, Hansen & Massino in Joliet have the experience, focus, and legal acumen to help. For more information, please don’t hesitate to contact us today.

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