Judgment of dissolution of marriage was entered. It included the parties’ marital settlement agreement (MSA).
Wife filed a petition to reopen the case. She claimed fraud and breach of the MSA.
She claimed that Husband concealed three assets worth nearly $2 million. She discovered this after the divorce took place. She now claimed that she did not receive her fair share of the assets.
During the divorce proceedings, she had an opportunity to engage in formal discovery. That is standard procedure. She could have investigated the asset issues. She chose not to. Husband had told her what certain assets were worth. She accepted a representation from him of full disclosure. She accepted his representations. She did that at her peril.
People often don’t want to go through the full-blown asset investigation process. But, otherwise, how would the court have any idea what the assets are? Or, what they are worth? How would you know?
The asset valuations could have been decided before the divorce took place. Wife did not show due diligence. She did not show reasonable interest in formally making up the list of assets to be divided. That was the time to establish a list of assets and liabilities. That was the time to evaluate the worth of the parties’ estate. The court would have made a comprehensive decision about the assets then. Not now.
She had had the opportunity to negotiate a clause into the MSA. It would have required Husband to disclose his interest in his businesses. She failed to do so.
In re Marriage of Lyman, 2015 IL App (1st) 132832.
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