That frequently happens in a couple of different ways. A current trend is one spouse trying to prepay college expenses. The law in Illinois apportions those expenses based on a number of different factors, not the least of which is the financial resources of the parties. If, for example, someone pays $50,000 in advance for college, that $50,000 is taken out of the marital estate. It’s no longer subject to division by the Court. It may, if it’s going to be a 50-50 split of the estate – that means that both spouses have now effectively paid half of college. Wherein a situation where the parties’ resources are not equal, then maybe one spouse doesn’t have an obligation to pay half. That’s a form of hiding assets.
It’s frequently seen in the context of closely held business interest. Sometimes money is moved around in the family business for expense reimbursement, for inappropriate expenses, for investments that are placed in other names rather the name of the business enterprise that may be operated by the other spouse. Its seen in the form of retained earnings that are accumulated pre-divorce in an effort to shield that money from division with the soon-to-be former spouse. There are a lot of different techniques that have been used over the years. While these techniques may slow the process down or make it more cumbersome, those are obstacles that an attorney can certainly overcome.
Chuck Roberts is a family lawyer at Momkus McCluskey Roberts, LLC, one of the largest law firms in DuPage County, Illinois.