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Uncovering hidden assets in a divorce

When people decide to divorce in Illinois, many hope that they will be able to reach an equitable settlement on financial matters. The financial effects of divorce can linger on long after the emotional and practical matters have been concluded, so handling these issues honestly and efficiently can help both parties to move on rather than face court entanglements. Unfortunately, however, some spouses seek to hide assets before or during the divorce to prevent their former spouses from receiving their fair share.

There are a number of ways divorcing spouses can seek to educate themselves about family assets in order to prepare for the future and uncover hidden assets. Going through tax returns, additional schedules and other financial documents can often reveal the true state of family finances; some spouses may have more qualms about hiding funds from the IRS. There are specific schedules that may be particularly important for people going through a high-asset divorce with multiple types of investments.

The IRS requires people who receive more than $1,500 in annual income to file a Schedule B with their tax returns; this form lists brokerages, mutual funds, banks and other sources of this income. It also requires disclosure of foreign accounts and trusts. While it does not list the amounts involved, this document can provide a roadmap to the location of significant investment accounts. In addition, Schedule D lists capital gains and losses from the sale of stocks and other securities while Schedule E discloses income from rental real estate, trusts and S-corporations.

Financial documents and preparation can be key to developing a plan to address property distribution in a divorce. A family law attorney may provide advice and representation to a divorcing spouse concerned about hidden assets and work to achieve a fair settlement on property division and related matters.

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