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Rockford Divorce Lawyer James Teeter

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How to Find Hidden Assets & Offshore Accounts During a Divorce

If you have been married for any length of time, you have undoubtedly acquired assets and debts that must be divided. Property division can be difficult under normal circumstances; however, it can be even more challenging if an ex-spouse is concealing assets.

If you suspect that your ex-spouse is concealing assets or has offshore accounts, it is critical to reach out to an experienced Illinois divorce lawyer who can diligently seek to obtain an accurate accounting of all marital assets. Call my office today to schedule a free consultation to learn how I can assist in discovering hidden assets and pursue a fair and equitable conclusion to your divorce.

Hidden Assets & Offshore Accounts FAQ's

While most people are open about their finances in divorce cases, assets can sometimes disappear as one spouse attempts to conceal high-value items, such as artwork, jewelry, cash, and other assets, until a financial settlement is agreed upon and finalized.

If you are contemplating a divorce or have been served with divorce papers, it is vital to understand some of the common ways that property and assets can be hidden, including (but not limited to):

  • Gifting belongings or engaging in fraudulent sales of assets to family and friends (sometimes with the understanding that such assets will be transferred back after a divorce is final);
  • Requesting the delayed payment of bonuses, incentives, or commissions;
  • Setting up a trust;
  • Manipulating business accounts;
  • Carrying over income into the next year or putting money back into a business for later distribution;
  • Holding assets in offshore accounts;
  • Shifting assets to cryptocurrency; and
  • Failing to declare income.

If you are going through a divorce, you have a legal right to an equitable portion of the entire marital estate. As an experienced asset discovery lawyer serving Rockford and the surrounding communities, including Belvidere, Davis, Freeport, Loves Park, Machesney Park, and Roscoe, for over a decade, I stand ready to vigilantly pursue the truth and equitable outcome to which you are rightfully entitled.

No. It is almost always advisable to continue the discovery process, especially when a divorce involves significant assets. Legal discovery can be a challenging and time-consuming process; however, if a spouse fails to disclose assets, a court will likely ask about the formal discovery answers in future proceedings. Did your ex-spouse lie on these answers? If so, you may have good cause to reopen the previous judgment and reallocate the asset.

An individual who fails to disclose assets can be ordered to pay attorney fees and other expenses expended to find hidden property and other assets. Further, Illinois property division laws direct the Court to equitably divide the marital estate. However, Equitable Distribution does not necessarily imply equal. Thus, if a spouse is caught concealing assets, a court may require them to pay more than half of the value to the other spouse. For example, if $100,000 in marital assets were hidden, a judge may order the spouse who concealed the assets to pay $70,000 to the other spouse.

Despite the potential penalties, many individuals still choose to take the risk and go to great lengths to conceal such assets, especially when significant value is involved. Thus, it can be imperative to the success of finding such valuables to reach out to an Illinois divorce lawyer who is experienced in taking efficient and effective steps to find hidden assets and offshore bank accounts.

Often the first clue about whether assets may be hidden is if a shared bank account does not seem to accurately reflect wages received as an employee or income earned from a business.  For instance, if a spouse is an employee, income deposited into the account may be less that what the spouse is earning (based upon income tax filings).

If the spouse owns a business, it will be important to check the business banking account to determine the amounts that have been paid to the spouse from the business, and to see if this amount correlates with personal banking deposits.  If the personal banking deposits are significantly less than the business owner payments, this may indicate that amounts from the business are being deposited into another account.

The methods for hiding assets can be complex.  As an example, a business owner could create a fake vendor, and then “pocket” the payments supposedly paid to this vendor.  Or, the vendor may be real, but the expenses on the books to the vendor may be overstated, allowing an owner to pocket the overpayment.  Other similar fraudulent tactics can also be implemented.

Businesses where customers typically pay in cash and jobs in which a person may receive substantial tips may also be problematic, as in these cases it is much harder to account for the cash received.

There are several ways to discover hidden assets in the divorce process, including:

  • Reviewing bank accounts to identify withdrawals and missing deposits;
  • Subpoena a spouse’s employer to determine employment income and contributions to company retirement accounts;
  • Review personal tax returns;
  • Subpoenas financial records and financial account applications (including for loans); and
  • Hire a forensic accountant and investigative experts who can assist during the discovery process. If there is a good reason to suspect that assets may be hidden, we recommend this approach, as a professional forensic accountant will know where to look in search of hidden assets.

Yes. Assets can easily be manipulated and hidden in a business. For example, companies that were previously profitable suddenly begin losing revenue during a divorce.  There may be two sets of books for a company – one that shows expenses as being much higher than is the true case, making the company look less profitable.  Alternatively, personal expenses may be written off as business expenses, also lowering the revenue reported on the books.

Call Today to Schedule a Free Consultation to Learn How Rockford Family Law Discovers Hidden Assets in Illinois Divorces.

If you suspect your spouse is attempting to hide high-value assets in a business, offshore account, or through other deceptive means, an expert will likely be needed to discover and explain the scheme to a court so that assets can be properly allocated to the marital estate. If you are facing divorce and you and/or your spouse own a business, I invite you to call my office to schedule a free consultation.  Finding hidden assets takes time and patience, but through a meticulous and thorough examination and consultation with the appropriate experts, we can help uncover hidden assets so that you can obtain your fair share of assets in a divorce.

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Please enter a number from 0 to 21.

Submission of information through the contact form does not create an attorney-client relationship, so please do not submit any confidential information. If we are to serve as your attorneys, all fees and the nature of our representation will be set forth in a written agreement.