Although the 2017 American Community Survey estimates the number of divorces is on the decline in Illinois, women still need to be aware of how to protect themselves financially, should divorce become inevitable. There are two common financial mistakes shared by a number of divorcing women - not only in Illinois but throughout the United States. By taking a proactive role and getting ahead of these common financial mistakes, women can save themselves a lot of frustration and be better prepared for their future.
1. Not Knowing Your Marital Assets and Debts
In Illinois, there is a presumption that property acquired during the marriage is marital property, therefore it should be divided equitably. However, many women are unaware of the extent of their marital property, which may cause them to leave money on the table. Consider that marital property can include a variety of assets - from retirement accounts and offshore bank accounts to car collections and earnings on investments. It is important to immediately identify and determine the values of these items since knowing these values will allow for a more equitable share in the assets of the marriage.
While it is crucial to know the marital assets, it is just as important to be fully informed of the marital debts. Where there is often a lack of knowledge of assets, the same is often true of marital debts. Debts can include car loans, home mortgages, credit cards, lines of credit, or any other debt. These will be factored into a property settlement along with any assets. If unaware and unprepared for them, you could be financially crippled in your new life, long before you even begin. Thankfully, with guidance and skilled legal counsel, you may be able to overcome such financial hurdles in your Illinois divorce.