Divorces involving spouses from two different countries may present the issue of dividing assets owned by one or both spouses in a location other than America. This can present a number of complications for an Illinois divorce because if a spouse is determined to hide international assets or lie about their value, it can be difficult to find or assess the exact value of an asset. Fortunately, attorneys with experience with dissolution of arranged marriages can help spouses who own complex assets overseas divide their assets fairly.
Is a Foreign Asset a Marital Asset?
Whether a piece of property, bank account, or investment is owned in the U.S. or abroad, if it was earned or purchased during a marriage using marital funds, it is marital property. There are some exceptions, however–anything inherited generally remains the personal property of the inheriting spouse; likewise, if a spouse purchased an asset with inherited funds, that asset may be that spouse’s personal property. If a couple signed a prenuptial agreement protecting certain assets, as long as the prenuptial agreement is fair and reasonable, it will also be protected during the divorce.
How Are Foreign Assets Valued?
In a best-case scenario, spouses will agree about the value of international assets. However, if spouses disagree, one or both spouses can hire an appraiser to independently verify the value of an asset and testify before an Illinois judge if necessary. Unfortunately, Illinois judges do not have jurisdiction over courts in other countries, making it difficult to enforce compliance from recalcitrant or dishonest spouses with international assets. Nevertheless, if a spouse refuses to cooperate or is clearly failing to follow the law in Illinois, he or she may face sanctions from an Illinois court....