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1776 S. Naperville Road, Building B, Suite 202,
Wheaton, IL 60189
The Stogsdill Law Firm, P.C.

The division of assets in divorce is generally thought of in tangible terms - bank accounts, retirement accounts, and real estate. Yet intellectual property, such as software, copyrights, and trademarks can carry value as well - and they are becoming more and more common in divorces. So how, exactly, do you value these intangible assets? The following explains.

Intellectual Property Often Overlooked in Divorce

Although intellectual property can have significant value, it is often overlooked in the process in divorce. This is due, in part, to its intangibility. However, it is also an issue because the asset is often "hidden" during the divorce proceedings. In some cases, it is out of mere oversight or ignorance. In others, it is an intentional act, used to reduce the payout to a deserving spouse. This can be especially problematic when the disadvantaged spouse is not even aware of what was created by their creative, tech-savvy, or inventive spouse. Reduce the risk by ensuring you have an experienced divorce lawyer on your side.

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When going through divorce, most people would like to believe that their spouse still values their marriage enough to be honest and fair in their disclosure of assets and income. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. No one really knows how often it happens - after all, many do end up getting away with it - but the issue is common and one that you should be aware of. Learn more with help from the following information on financial fraud in divorce.

Types of Financial Fraud in Divorce

While some forms of financial fraud are more common than others, a spouse can become victim to one or numerous types throughout the course of their marriage or divorce. This can include tax fraud, asset dissipation, asset hiding, misappropriation of assets, forgery, loan fraud, insurance fraud, and more. Parties who are especially at risk are those that have not had an active role in the day-to-day financial management of the marriage. Even still, it is possible to spot the signs if you stay aware and know what to look for during your divorce.

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For some couples, the path to divorce is fairly peaceable. They know their marriage is ending, may even remain friends, and simply want to move on with their lives. For others, the process is contentious. They may bicker over seemingly trivial issues because they feel hurt or betrayed. One or both parties may seem greedy, petty, or spiteful. Such divorces can become so ugly that things - assets, money, furniture, artwork, and other things of value - start to disappear. This is known as a dissipation of assets.

Are Your Marital Assets Being Wasted?

Spotting a dissipation of assets might seem like a simple, straightforward, and easy thing to do. After all, if there is money missing, then it would make sense that it is being wasted. However, this is not always the case. In fact, there are many ways to secretly or covertly drain assets. Examples might include going to strip clubs, which typically have bland names to "preserve privacy of their patrons," running up credit card debt, or withdrawing money directly from an account to prevent tracking. In all of these situations, and any other similar situations, it is critical that you contact an experienced attorney for assistance.

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It is only natural to want your fair share in a divorce, and there is nothing wrong with protecting assets that are rightfully yours. An attorney can help you with all of this, but it is possible to take things too far and deceptively try to keep more than you should. A civil and potentially even a criminal matter, such practices are known as asset hiding, and they can land you in trouble. Understand the difference and learn how you can legally protect your assets during your divorce.

Protecting Your Business

Like all other marital assets, businesses are valued and equitably distributed during divorce. This does not necessarily mean that you have to take on your soon-to-be ex-spouse as a partner, or that you have to sell the business. In fact, if you are willing to part with an equal sum of your remaining marital estate, you may be able to walk away with your business intact. However, it is important that you tread carefully in business matters while pursuing a divorce.

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Divorce is never easy, but those that are considered "high net worth divorces" can be especially tricky. Stakes are higher, arguments may be explosive, and feelings of animosity or vengefulness may pave the way for dishonesty in asset disclosure. This can be especially disastrous when one party holds all of the cards (or the assets) and decides that their soon-to-be ex-spouse should not receive his or her fair share.

Hidden Assets Common in Marriage and Divorce

Information from the National Endowment for Financial Education shows that approximately 31 percent of all adults with combined assets admit to being deceptive about money. A total of 58 percent say they have hidden cash from their partner or spouse. Additionally, a CreditCards.com study found that one in 20 married respondents kept an account or credit card from their spouse (approximately 13 million Americans).

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