Any asset that an individual conceals from his or her spouse may be considered to be a hidden asset. During the divorce process, an individual might attempt to hide his or her assets to avoid sharing them with his or her former partner. These assets can be anything from cash or valuables to mutual funds, stocks, and vehicles.
The legal process to find these assets is known as discovery.
Types of Assets
There are three different types of assets married individuals may hold. Each is handled uniquely in the divorce process. Section 503 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act covers the types of property an individual may hold and how they may be divided during a divorce.
- Marital property. This is the property that a married couple obtains together during their marriage. This can include homes, vehicles, bank accounts, retirement plans, and personal property such as household furnishings.
- Separate property. This category includes any property that either spouse received independently of his or her marriage such as gifts, inheritance, property owned before entering the marriage, and property that can not be attributed in any way to the individual’s spouse.
- Commingled property. This third category, commingled property, can be difficult to define. It refers to separate property that becomes mixed with marital property, such as savings and retirement accounts. If you are not sure if a certain asset falls into this category, ask your attorney about it. He or she will be able to determine whether or not a piece of your property is considered to be separate, marital, or commingled.
Discovery of Hidden Assets
If you think your spouse is hiding assets that rightfully belong to you both, talk to your attorney about the discovery process. The discovery process is the legal process through which an attorney may procure information about an individual’s assets so his or her property may be fairly divided during a divorce.
Assets are usually hidden through the following methods:
- Putting money or valuables in a safe deposit box;
- Secret bank accounts;
- Underreporting income to the IRS;
- Overpaying the IRS and collecting the return later;
- Purchasing tangible goods; or
- Moving money or stocks to another individual’s name.
Methods of Discovery
The following are various ways an attorney can carry out the discovery process.
- Written interrogations. These require that the spouse accused of hiding assets answer questions about the assets fully and truthfully in writing.
- Requests to produce documents or tangible items.
- Depositions. This is a testimony under oath where each partner and their attorneys answer a court reporter’s questions about their assets.
Family Attorneys in DuPage County
If you and your spouse built a significant network of property and assets during your marriage, you have the right to a fair, equitable division of these assets during your divorce. Talk to an experienced DuPage County divorce attorney about the discovery process today if you think your spouse could be hiding assets from you. At Kathryn L. Harry & Associates, P.C., we are here to advocate for you during this difficult process. Contact our firm today at (877) 889-4515 for your free legal consultation.