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Tag Archives: Division of Assets

Wheaton divorce attorneysOf all the issues that a couple faces in divorce, matters that pertain to the division of marital assets can be some of the most complex, confusing, and contentious. This area is also where couples tend to make the most critical mistakes. Avoid such issues during your Illinois divorce with help from the following information and assistance from a competent divorce lawyer. 

How Assets Are Handled in an Illinois Divorce

Unless the divorcing parties signed a prenuptial agreement before the beginning of their marriage, the assets that were obtained over the duration of their union are typically considered “joint” or “marital assets.” Such assets are usually subject to the division of assets process that takes place during a divorce. Parties can negotiate how they will be divided, but it is highly recommended that spouses each obtain their own legal counsel before signing a settlement agreement, as there may be factors that dramatically change one’s entitlement to the marital estate. For example, a stay-at-home mother may not think she is entitled to much of the marital estate since she did not really earn any income over the course of the marriage, but the courts would consider her contribution to the family (sacrificing her career or earning ability to care for the couple’s children) as one that increases her overall stake in the marital estate.

When to Split the Debts and Assets in Your Marital Estate

When it comes to dividing your debts and assets in a divorce, timing is everything. Some items should not be divided until the entire divorce process is complete (i.e. a retirement pension plan or a child’s college savings fund). Others, like credit card debt and student loan debt, can be separated before you officially file for a divorce, so long as you both agree to the terms. How you handle the latter is entirely up to you, but do not enter an agreement or make changes to your marital estate without first consulting your attorney. They can guide you in how to ensure that any agreements made before the start of proceedings are honored at the end of them. 

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Divorce and Lottery Winnings In Illinois, DuPage County divorce attorneysThe website Central Illinois Proud recently reported on several stories of people winning the lottery before their divorces were finalized. The main question that comes up is whether the soon to be ex-spouse is entitled to any of the winnings. While it seems like this would be a rather basic question, like many parts of the law it is not as straightforward as it seems.

Disclosure

If you have won a significant amount of money and are separated or in the process of divorce, you need to make sure you are upfront with your attorney and your spouse about the winnings. The Central Illinois Proud article highlights the case of a California woman who won the lottery, and then filed for divorce a few days later. She did not plan to tell her ex-spouse about the money but then her winnings, and her deception were found out during the divorce process. The court ended up awarding her ex-husband all of the winnings.

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Dividing Retirement Benefits During a DivorceFor many divorcing couples, retirement plans are one of the largest assets they have. Pensions and defined contribution retirement plans are generally subject to division during the divorce. That means that if a couple is married when benefits accrue, then the benefits should be considered in the division of property even if it will be awhile before the benefits are actually paid. This is one of the most complex subjects in asset division. For specific answers for your situation, contact a knowledgeable property division attorney.

General Rule

The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act governs property division during divorce. Courts require that assets be split equitably, which does not necessarily mean equally. Generally, the benefits earned during the marriage are split between the couple. However, with some plans, especially pension plans, this can be a more difficult calculation than it may seem.

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divorcing retirees

A divorcing couple’s finances are often one of the largest issues to be addressed by their lawyers and a judge in court. It is usually assumed that the spouse who benefits from a financial award has prevailed. However, a financial article recently suggested that other factors may be more important than money in a divorce, especially for retirees and those about to retire.

Lasting Effects

The repercussions of a decision in a divorce case last far beyond the end of the case, and can even be felt years down the road. Retirement plans made by a couple when they were married can be completely upheaved when they divorce, leaving two single people to make new plans for retirement. Items of property that were assigned to one side over another may be difficult to sell, or may be only of sentimental value. Other non-financial factors, such as family visitation, are also important, despite the lack of financial value.

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property division illinois divorceDuring a divorce proceeding, the parties may attempt to come to an agreement about the way in which they will divide their marital property between them. However, if they are unable to come to an agreement, or if their agreement is found to be unfair and unconscionable, it is up to the Illinois Courts to divide the marital estate between the divorcing parties in a way it sees fit. The court employs the law as a guideline in making a property determination within a divorce decree.

Equitable Distribution

Illinois state law follows the concept of equitable distribution in dividing marital property. This allows the court to make a property determination based on fairness and may not involve a perfect 50/50 split of marital property awarded to each party. The court will separate what is classified as marital property from what is considered separate property, and will equitably divide the marital property between divorcing spouses.

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Abraham Lincoln A lawyer’s time and advice are his stock and trade. -Abraham Lincoln
Davi Law Group, LLC handles family law, estate planning and real estate matters for clients in Chicago and throughout the western suburbs including DuPage County, Will County, Kane County, Kendall County and Cook County and the cities of Aurora, Bloomingdale, Bolingbrook, Carol Stream, Darien, Downers Grove, Elmhurst, Geneva, Glen Ellyn, Hinsdale, Joliet, Kendall County, Lisle, Lombard, Naperville, Oak Park, Oak Brook, Oswego, Park Ridge, Roselle, St. Charles, Villa Park, Warrenville, Wheaton, Winfield, Woodridge and Yorkville, Illinois.
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