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Would your ex stash assets in a divorce? Document them!

On Behalf of | Jun 23, 2020 | Property Division

The only way that divorcing Chicago couples can get parity in their divorce settlements is if both spouses play fair with the division of marital assets and debts. The problem is that by the time one spouse files for divorce, the couple’s relationship has already tanked — at least from one partner’s perspective.

The other spouse may be so emotionally wounded by the pending split that they lash out to hurt the other. One way to do that is to attempt to hide some of the marital assets or convert them to personal assets. But that is not just an immoral choice, it’s also illegal, although some spouses still try it anyway. Read on for ways to prevent that from happening and some other tips when going through a divorce.

Document everything

Before filing for divorce, or right after you get served, it’s important to document all of the marital assets. That way, if things later start disappearing, you will have time-stamped evidence of what and where it was at that point. Your spouse may later have to answer to the courts for their role in the case of the disappearing assets.

Establish a paper trail

Gather all records before filing your divorce petition. If you are the one being served with the petition, make copies as soon as possible. Copy all of the following:

  • Loan applications
  • Pay stubs
  • Three years’ worth of tax returns
  • Trust documents
  • Registrations for vehicles
  • Real estate appraisals
  • Profit and loss statements for businesses
  • Wills
  • Bank statements and other financial records
  • Credit card statements
  • Tax assessments
  • Real estate deeds

These are all things that your attorney will need and which will likely become part of the discovery process of your divorce.

Don’t forget the debts

In addition to splitting up all of your marital assets, don’t forget that you also have to divide the debts. The division of debts can often be used to offset the distribution of assets, so use this to your advantage during negotiations. Now is a great time to run a credit report for both you and your spouse so that you have a clearer picture of your finances.

Seek professional guidance

Now is not the time to go it alone. You should seek legal and financial guidance from professionals in those industries to make sure that you are on firm footing going through the divorce proceedings.