Finding Hidden Assets in an Illinois Divorce — Top 7 Questions Answered

As high asset divorce attorneys, we regularly field questions about finding hidden assets in an Illinois divorce. When it comes to the breakup of high assets or high net worth couples, this is almost always a concern. The divorce process is supposed to entail full disclosure of assets by each party. In high asset divorces, it seems that one party often engages in deceptive practices, like hiding their assets, all in an attempt to avoid sharing parts of the marital estate with their partner. A forgotten asset is one thing, but when there is a deliberate attempt to avoid disclosure, what can a person do to guarantee that all the assets are disclosed?

Here are the top seven questions answered about finding hidden assets in an Illinois divorce:

1. Should I waive the discovery process in my divorce?

First, if your spouse “forgets” about the asset, the first inquiry from the court years after your divorce will about the formal discovery answers. Did your spouse lie on the formal answers? If so, you could potentially have a good case to re-open the judgment and re-allocate that asset. But what if you didn’t ask for formal discovery? The court may refuse your request to divide that asset because you could have discovered it and you did not. Why take the chance?

2. How do I find hidden assets during my divorce?

3. Is it possible marital assets are being hidden inside a business?

Business Expenses

Shielding Income

Hiding Assets with Family and Friends

When your spouse is invested in the process of hiding their assets, you will need professional help to either find it or prove to the court what has happened. An expert is likely needed to explain the scheme to the court so that the asset can be put back into the marital estate.

4. What will the Court do if I’ve conducted formal discovery and I later find out about a hidden asset?

5. What are the penalties for hiding assets in a divorce?

6. What if I know about the asset, but have trouble with the value?

I saw this once in a case with Precious Moments figures. The wife claimed they were worth about $20.00 apiece and anyone who sees them would likely agree. They are just a little statute of a girl or some other like-minded object, and my client (the husband) never paid attention to them. We’d almost agreed that their value was $20.00 apiece until someone else in my office pointed out that those could be worth close to a thousand bucks apiece. I couldn’t believe it, but it was true. One statute was valued at $750.00, and others were more. You should always have someone review a collection to value its worth, otherwise, you are leaving money on the table.

7. If I cannot afford an expert to find hidden assets in my divorce, what can I do?

Bonus checks are easy to take and put into bank or investment accounts that you know nothing about. Make sure you send a subpoena to the employer to determine just how much money your spouse made. Review bank statements for large cash withdrawals or for expenditures you don’t recognize. It will get you started and you can determine if there is a problem with hidden assets or not.

Review All Personal Tax Returns and Financial Accounts

You’ll need to learn about the IRA distributions, 1099’s and/or W-2s. There will be line items for bonds and CDs and even loans. Ask your accountant about monies that are carried over into the next year and how that impacts your bottom line. And if you are getting divorced in the middle of the year, or even the end of the year, make sure you know what deductions will be allowable to your spouse and how that will impact any refund.

Review Business Tax Returns

Issue Subpoenas

Finding Hidden Assets Takes Time and Patience

If you are facing a divorce and concerned you are not fully aware of all financial matters in your marriage, it is important to get trusted legal advice. Contact Anderson & Boback to speak with an experienced divorce attorney regarding your situation and get answers to questions about finding hidden assets should you divorce.


When Everything Is On The Line, You Need An Attorney You Can Trust, That Will Advocate & Fight For Your Family! We Can Help!