Oct 4, 2018 | Divorce


In high asset divorces, it is quite possible that one of the parties will own an offshore account. It may, therefore, be helpful for Rockford, Illinois, residents to understand exactly what an offshore account is, and when it might matter in a divorce or legal separation case.

Offshore accounts are, as the name implies, simply bank or other investment accounts placed and held in foreign financial institutions. There is nothing wrong with having an offshore account, per se. In fact, there may be very good legal and financial reasons to do so.

Moreover, while they may be more common among the wealthy, one does not necessarily have to have a lot of spare funds to set up an offshore account. Some countries will accept only a few hundred dollars of foreign money. On the other hand, other banks do not accept foreign money at all because there are additional laws and regulations with which the banks most comply.

In the family law context, offshore accounts become problematic when they are part of an effort to hide some or all of a person’s assets that, under Illinois law, would otherwise be considered marital property. In other words, offshore accounts are fine from a divorce perspective, so long as both spouses know about them in a timely fashion. That way, either the couple or the judge can decide how to fairly divide the account.

Unfortunately, there are people who will not want to play by the rules and will try to conceal money in an offshore account. Should one suspect that their spouse is doing this, getting help from an experienced family law attorney may be necessary.