Discovering Assets in a Divorce

One of the most common fears I hear from clients is that assets will not be disclosed by their spouse in the divorce case, and they are uncertain as to how they will be able to discover what property is within the marital estate.  Throughout the divorce process in Illinois, the parties are required to complete “discovery”.  Discovery can consist of depositions, written interrogatories, production of documents and requests for admission or of authenticity of documents.  Any or all of these discovery methods may be used to discover what the marital estate consists of.  Parties are responsible for complying with these requests, typically within 28 days.  However, often time compliance is not complete, or there is no effort in complying at all.  In these situations, it may be necessary to utilize subpoenas.

Subpoenas are used to request documentation or deposition straight from the source of the financial documents.  For example, one can subpoena a bank for records from X date to X date for a specific account.  Or, if account numbers are not known, one can subpoena any and all records regarding accounts held under the names “John Doe” or “John S. Doe” or “Johnathon Doe”, etc., held in his name individually or jointly with others, provided there is a birth date or social security number, or both, accompanying the request.  You can request certain time frames, or certain account numbers, or just everything they have, but you have to be at least a little bit specific as to duration.  For example, you can request any and all records from X date, through current, so that you have the most current documents as of the date the Subpoena is received by the entity.

Not all companies have to comply with Subpoenas.  Chances are, a national bank will comply, as they do business in multiple states.  Occasionally you will receive a rejection of compliance with an out of state entity, who will argue that they are not under the jurisdiction of Illinois.  You can proceed on those Subpoenas but it a lot of times is not cost effective.

These are the main methods used to ensure that all assets, liabilities and property are discovered during a divorce case.

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