Hiding Marital Assets in Divorce Becoming Increasingly Difficult

A recent story in the Wall Street Journal detailed how the advent of electronic discovery in the divorce litigation has made it much more difficult for spouses in troubled marriages to hide money or other marital assets from one another, in hopes of sheltering them from divorce proceedings. While it used to be common for spouses to hide paper trials by shredding documents or maintaining a second set of books, virtually all financial evidence is computerized or digitized in some manner. Illinois divorce attorneys and other financial experts are able to sift through records using advanced search tools that can examine thousands of documents with a single click of the mouse. What’s more, a spouse can install software on home computers to monitor his or her spouse’s online activity, search through web-surfing history, and view online social media sites in order to uncover any illicit activities that a spouse might be up to. Not surprisingly, smart phones also are an increasing source of evidence that is often used in Illinois divorces.

Divorce law is also developing in terms of how far a spouse or a divorce lawyer can go in uncovering digital evidence. While it is legal to do online searches regarding a spouse and his or her activities, it is potentially illegal to hack into a spouse’s personal Facebook page or email account. If evidence is obtained illegally, then it is likely to be inadmissible in court proceedings, which can be a big problem. Plus, illegal actions to obtain evidence form a spouse can result in criminal charges and even professional discipline for lawyers.

If you are contemplating a divorce in DuPage County, you should be aware of the dangers of electronic records as evidence in legal proceedings, as well as that fact that your electronic activity can almost always be monitored in some way. For answers to all of your questions about how electronic records can affect your divorce proceedings, contact an experienced Naperville, Illinois divorce lawyer.

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