There are certain things that many divorce attorneys will advise their clients to do. On the other side of the coin, there also is a list of items in a divorce that attorneys would advise their client against doing. Depending on what the client ultimately wants to achieve, this list of dos and don’ts can change from person to person. Yet, there are certain behaviors that are rarely ever looked upon favorably in court.
Illinois’ former Chicago Board of Trade Chairman recently experienced a long and hotly contested divorce from his wife. Instead of exposing and surrendering all of his assets for the purposes of property division, however, he moved large sums of money out of the country. Not only that, but the man himself is no longer in the United States; this situation makes it very difficult for a divorce court to implement a divorce decree recently issued.
Specifically, the court held that the man’s ex-wife is entitled to $18 million in the divorce and issued a judgment against him. The man fought the decision by attempting to appeal to a higher court, but still transferred most of his money to Europe. The higher court recently ruled on the man’s appeal and its ruling was not in his favor. The court dismissed his claims.
Now, the man’s only option is to petition the Illinois Supreme Court to hear his case. However, at least one of the Supreme Court Justices might not look kindly on his behavior. This justice saw a similar case in the past when she was a practicing attorney; in that case, the appellate court dismissed the man’s appeal, holding that because the party made himself and his money unavailable to the jurisdiction of the court for purposes of property division, he was not entitled to appellate relief.
In spite of having the law on her side, the ex-wife might still be left empty-handed. The state of Illinois is left essentially powerless when trying to exercise jurisdiction over a person and funds outside of the United States.
Under Illinois divorce law, the court will divide marital assets in a way that leave both parties on equal footing post-divorce. This is the most popular form of property division in the U.S., with only a minority of the states maintaining community property concepts. In community property states, marital assets are essentially split evenly down the middle, no matter what preexisting financial position either party has.
Source: Chicago Sun-Times, “Higher court takes low view of ex-CBOT chief’s appeal in divorce case: Brown,” Mark Brown, Dec. 11, 2013