Marriages end for various reasons. Sometimes there may be domestic violence, abuse or infidelity involved while other times, one spouse may simply be ready to move on. When a spouse seeks a divorce under any of these circumstances, the other spouse may feel resentful and angry, perhaps even wanting to exact a measure payback by clearing out a joint bank account, hiding assets, or even charging up a credit card that might not be in their name. It may also be that the spouse asking for the divorce has prepared by setting aside money or other marital assets without the other spouse’s knowledge, assets that should be part of the division of marital assets in a divorce.
To protect from financial harm in a divorce, as a general rule it is important for someone who is considering divorce to be informed about their financial circumstances regarding both spouses’ incomes, marital assets and debt. Making copies of documents such as pay stubs, invoices, bank statements, retirement accounts and tax returns is important as is securing copies of titles of ownership and even pictures of marital property around the house. It is also important to ascertain what you and your spouse owe on debts that may only be in your name or your spouse’s name, or debt that is in both your names. Most any debt that is accrued during the marriage may be subject to division regardless of whose name it is in, so it is important to know where you stand.
During the divorce, dividing the marital property and even spousal support may hinge on the ability of a spouse to provide an accurate representation of the marital assets and debt and the income of both spouses. Any dissipation of marital assets such as last minute spending sprees on a credit card or taking funds out of a joint account or even taking a distribution from a 401K account can be offset in the equitable division of marital assets and debt. In other words, if your spouse squanders marital assets before your divorce is finalized, they will likely receive less of the marital assets and perhaps carry more of the marital debt burden to set things right when it is all said and done.
The best advice is to seek the help of an experienced Illinois divorce attorney early in the process to take the necessary steps to protect yourself from financial harm in a divorce. Contact the Libertyville family law attorneys of Schlesinger & Strauss LLC for immediate assistance at 847-680-4970.