Butler Giraudo & Meister
Peoria 309-407-3332
Morton 309-263-1204

Utilizing offshore accounts for a divorce

During a divorce it may be quite difficult to ensure that all the property each spouse possesses is presented before the court for a fair division. Particularly during divorces between high net worth individuals, it is often possible that one or both spouses are using offshore accounts to store their wealth.

If you're considering making use of an offshore account, there are benefits that can be helpful as you work through the divorce process.

Opening an offshore account requires the same amount of personal information as a local bank. The opening of offshore accounts is mostly carried out by legitimate banking enterprises, and they require the same types of documentation and legal proof as local banks. There is nothing illegal about having such an account.

It is easy to hide assets in an offshore account during a divorce. With today's economy, it has become much easier to go from one part of the world to another within 24 hours, making it easy to access your offshore account within a day's notice. Also, thanks to the Internet, you can reach banks that are in another country digitally, and carry out transactions in a safe and secure manner. No physical trace of such an account need exist in your country other than an ATM or credit card to be locked away in a safe location.

Now that you know the advantages of having an offshore account, the next step is to determine whether your spouse may have one. Here's how you can tell:

  1. Make a thorough review of your spouse's tax returns in recent years. A close look at the logbooks should tell you whether your spouse has been making offshore investments in preparation for the divorce.
  2. Hire an expert. A forensic accountant is specially trained to follow the trail leading to your spouse's investment history.
  3. Don't be naive. Having implicit faith in your spouse to be open and honest about finances will make it easier for them to dupe you. Stay alert for signs that point towards your spouse having an offshore account, such as their agreeing too quickly to the divorce terms, or agreeing to an unequal division of marital assets in your favor. Divorce is a messy, ugly business, with both sides trying their best to one-up the other, and the best weapon at your disposal can often be your own gut instinct.

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