Divorcing a Financially Abusive Spouse in Illinois

You want to divorce your financially abusive spouse. So, what exactly does that mean? Some people do not realize that they are victims because they have always let their spouses handle the money. Your spouse controls everything, from how much you are allowed to spend on groceries, to how much money is spent on the house. Your spouse convinces you that “he is only trying to help,” or “she was saving for our future.” A financially abusive spouse is one that controls you with your money. It is a person who hides assets or financial accounts, all with the primary goal of keeping what rightfully belongs to you.

Common Questions About a Financially Abusive Spouse

HOW CAN I GET MONEY TO DIVORCE MY SPOUSE IF I’M ONLY GIVEN A SMALL ALLOWANCE?

HOW CAN I HAVE MONEY TO LIVE ON IF SHE CONTROLS ALL OF THE MONEY?

In order to get spousal maintenance, you still have to need it. Your spouse might be making twice as much as you, but if your employment maintains your lifestyle, then you may not be a candidate for maintenance. There is still a requirement that you need the money. If you do qualify for maintenance, then we look to the Illinois guidelines to calculate the amount and duration.

Maintenance is now calculated using a formula, much like child support is calculated. Each case is calculated by a formula called “guidelines.” It does not mean that the judge cannot give you more, or even less, but it is a guideline to start the calculation.

If you need more than the guideline amount, you will need to demonstrate why you need more than the guidelines are recommending. The same holds true for the length of time. If you need two more years of maintenance to finish your college degree for instance, that could be a motivating factor to the court. You will want to go through everything financially related with your attorney to make sure that you are receiving everything you are entitled to receive.

WHAT CAN I DO IF HE IS HIDING MONEY?

If you see statements sitting on the kitchen table, take a picture of them. Pay attention to the paperwork in your house and see where the paperwork is kept. You might not be able to open mail addressed to you, but you can sure take a picture of the envelope.

Review your tax returns closely. If there is property purchased, it will show up in the tax return. The tax return will give you the address of that property and how much money was spent on it. There is a wealth of information out there if you are looking for it.

When I worked at Pinkerton private investigation agency right after law school, I would ride along with some of the investigators for “dumpster dives.” It is amazing what people will throw in the trash. People rarely threw their bank statements in the garbage, but they would throw promotional material from the same establishment in the garbage. No one bothers to shred promotional material. Why is Citibank sending you a flyer for a home mortgage? They might be sending it to everyone, but they also might be sending it to you or your spouse because you have an account there. Looking through the garbage can tell you a lot about a person.

YOU OWN THE HOUSE OR ANY OTHER ASSET ACQUIRED DURING THE MARRIAGE EVEN IF YOUR NAME IS NOT ON THE ASSET.

Anything acquired during the marriage is marital unless the asset falls into an exemption. For instance, if you inherited money during the marriage, and did not deposit it into a joint account with your spouse, then this money would be deemed your non-marital monies. There are other instances as well, but as a general rule, it does not matter that your name is not on the asset.

YOU ARE ENTITLED TO PENSIONS, PROFIT SHARING, AND 401(k)S

If your spouse was working at the company five years before the marriage, then this asset has marital and non-marital monies in it. Your spouse will be awarded five years’ worth of the asset without any of those monies going to you, but you will have an interest in the marital portion.

Ready to Divorce a Financially Abusive Spouse? Time to Get a Chicago Divorce Lawyer

THIS ARTICLE WAS PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED AT: https://illinoislawforyou.com/divorce/divorcing-a-financially-abusive-spouse-in-illinois/

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