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One of the very basic tasks to be completed during an Illinois divorce proceeding is for the parties to indicate the assets they have and to either divide these assets amongst themselves or to submit the list of assets to the court and allow the judge to divide the assets . If this duty of asset division falls to the court, the judge will divide the assets in a way that appears to treat both parties fairly. The general idea behind property division is that both parties should obtain a fair share of the property and assets they accumulated during the marriage (there are some important exceptions to this general rule, however).
In a perfect world, even divorcing spouses would treat one another with fairness and respect. As most know, we do not live in a perfect world. Some spouses, in an attempt to gain a larger distribution of the marital estate from the court, will deliberately attempt to hide or misrepresent the amount of assets they hold. The other spouse usually becomes aware of this when the spouse hiding assets files a disclosure or other document listing his or her assets and the innocent spouse notices several “big ticket” items are missing: a house, a collector car, or other similar item. But what can a spouse do if he or she believes the other spouse is hiding assets?
Hiding Assets Is Not a Good Idea
For those wondering whether hiding assets from the court or the other party is a good idea, the answer is simple: no. Falsifying your assets on court filings can lead to serious felony charges like perjury. Even if no criminal charges are filed, a judge that becomes aware of you hiding assets can find that you have disobeyed the court’s order. This can result in fines or, in some severe situations, a jail sanction. Attempting to hide assets rarely works and the potential reward you might receive from successfully hiding assets is not worth the possible penalties you would face when you are caught.
What if My Ex Is Hiding Assets?
If you believe your ex-spouse is hiding assets from you, you should not ignore these actions. Tell your attorney right away. If you are representing yourself, you may need to file a motion with the court so that you can inform the court. You will need evidence to support your claim – your word alone is not likely to be enough. Statements and testimony from others familiar with your ex’s assets, registration records, and other such evidence can be used to show your ex owns more assets than he or she is admitting.
What happens if your divorce is already finalized? You will need to speak with an experienced Hinsdale divorce attorney like those at the Law Office of Martoccio & Martoccio right away. You may only have a limited amount of time to take action, so the sooner you contact our offices the sooner we can petition the court for help.