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2 ways a spouse might try to cheat you out of assets in a divorce

Illinois courts seek to divide property equitably when asked to rule on a divorce. They do not have time to compile a list of all the assets you hold, so expect each spouse to present an honest list of assets.

Once the court has this list it can determine which assets are exempt from property division and which need to be included in the division process. Unfortunately, people do not always present them with accurate lists. Sometimes it is oversight, but other times it is down to a spouse’s attempts to distort things. 

1. Unreported or underreported assets

Your spouse writes down that they have $100,000 in a bank account when in fact they have $200,000. They think by lying they will get to keep the additional $100,000 for themselves. They probably won’t do this because bank balances are easy to check on. However, if they put the value of an artwork at $100,000 when it could actually sell for twice that, a judge and you may be less likely to find out.

If your spouse notes down their next annual bonus at $50,000, you might not know that the company had an even better year than usual and the owner promised them a $75,000 bonus.

2. Dissipating assets

Sometimes a spouse is less concerned about keeping an asset and more concerned about ensuring you do not get it. Even if that means they don’t get it either. So, they might find a way to blow money. For example, by spending thousands taking their golfing buddies away for a week. Or by taking their new boyfriend on a designer shopping spree.

Dissipating assets and falsely reporting assets are both unacceptable in a divorce. If you believe your spouse has done this, getting help to compile evidence could help you persuade a court to redress the balance.

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