630-462-9500

After Hour New Client Telephone Number 630-690-6077

1776 S. Naperville Road, Building B, Suite 202,
Wheaton, IL 60189
The Stogsdill Law Firm, P.C.

DuPage County asset division attorney

Asset division during divorce involves much more than simply splitting a couple’s bank accounts. Complex assets, such as stocks and retirement funds, must also be accounted for. If you are considering getting a divorce in Illinois, you may have concerns about how your combined property will be divided between you and your spouse. You may also be unsure of which assets your spouse is entitled to and which assets are yours alone. Retirement account assets may be the result of years, if not decades, of hard work so they are often a significant portion of the marital estate. Understanding how these assets are divided during divorce is essential to ensure a fair settlement of the marital estate.

Classifying Retirement Assets as Marital or Separate

Illinois is an “equitable distribution” state, which means that property is distributed in an equitable, but not always even, manner during a divorce. Property division is based on many factors, including each spouse’s financial circumstances, their contributions to the acquisition of property, child custody arrangements, and much more. Only marital property is divided during an Illinois divorce. Marital property includes any assets that were acquired during the marriage. Nonmarital, or separate property, includes property acquired through inheritance or gift as well as property obtained by either spouse before the marriage. Retirement funds that a spouse accumulated before getting married are classified as nonmarital, and therefore, not subject to division. However, the portion of the retirement assets that were accumulated during the marriage is considered a marital asset and will need to be divided. It is essential to note that retirement plans will not be divided if a divorcing couple has signed a valid prenuptial agreement that excludes retirement assets.

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DuPage County divorce attorney division of property

When a married couple decides to divorce, one of the most pressing questions is often, “What should we do with the family home?” Some individuals decide to stay in the family home and “buy out” their soon-to-be ex-spouse. Other times, one spouse takes ownership of the home while the other spouse receives property that is roughly equal in value. For some divorcing couples, the choice that makes the most sense is to sell the home and split the profits. Selling your home while going through a separation or divorce can be very complicated both personally and legally. There are several things you should keep in mind when deciding how to handle your family home when it comes to the division of property in your Illinois divorce.

Financial Concerns Regarding the Sale of Your Home

Before proceeds from the sale of your home can be divided, you will need to pay off the mortgage as well as any second mortgage or home equity line of credit. You must also pay the brokers’ fees and any capital gains tax that applies. Tax liability may not be high on your list of concerns, but it can have major financial ramifications during the sale of a house. 

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Wheaton asset division lawyer 

Division of property is often one of the most consequential aspects of a divorce. Spouses have worked hard to acquire the property they own, and they understandably do not want this property to be divided unfairly. Typically, high-value assets and complex assets like family businesses, real estate, investments, and stocks are more difficult to value and accurately address during divorce than simpler assets. Property division is made even more complicated when marital assets and nonmarital assets are commingled, or mixed. If you have concerns about how your property will be divided during divorce, speak with an experienced divorce attorney as soon as possible to receive guidance customized for your particular situation.   

Property Is Divided According to Equitable Distribution in Illinois

During divorce, spouses have the option of determining their own property division arrangements. This is often accomplished through negotiation, mediation, or collaborative law. However, in some situations, spouses cannot reach an agreement about property without help from the courts. In Illinois, courts divide property according to a method called “equitable distribution.” Property is divided fairly based on the duration of the marriage, provisions made for the spouses’ children, each spouse’s contributions to the marital estate, the spouses’ income and employability, and other factors.

Differentiating Between Marital and Nonmarital Property

Only marital property is divided by Illinois courts in a divorce. Separate property, also called nonmarital property, is assigned to the spouse who originally owned the property. Generally, marital property includes any assets that were purchased or acquired by either spouse during the marriage. Assets that a spouse owned before getting married and property obtained through gift or inheritance are typically classified as nonmarital property and are therefore not divided. 

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Wheaton, IL dissipation of assets lawyerIllinois no longer allows divorcing spouses to claim fault-based grounds for divorce. However, this does not mean that a spouse’s behavior cannot influence a divorce settlement. Spouses who waste or destroy property during the breakdown of their marriage or during divorce proceedings may be guilty of dissipating assets. If you are planning to get divorced or have already started the divorce process, and you believe your spouse has grossly misused marital funds or property, you may have a valid dissipation claim.

Defining Dissipation of Assets

Illinois law defines dissipation as the use of marital property for a purpose not related to the marriage when the marriage is undergoing an irreparable breakdown. Examples of dissipation of assets include situations such as:

  • After a wife files for divorce, a husband decides to “get even” with her. He intentionally destroys thousands of dollars of their furniture and other household property so that the wife cannot be assigned these items during property division.

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DuPage County property division lawyer for pet ownershipFor many people, their dog, cat, or other pet is a beloved member of the family. However, the law treats pets as property. During divorce, spouses may vehemently disagree about who will take ownership of the pet. In years past, pets were treated just like any other asset during a contentious divorce. However, modifications to Illinois laws regarding property division took effect in 2018, and they changed the way pets are dealt with during divorce. If you are considering divorce, and you are worried that you and your spouse will disagree about ownership of your pet, read on to learn about your options.

Factors Considered During “Pet Custody” Decisions

Only marital assets are divided during Illinois divorces. If a spouse acquired a pet before the marriage, it may be considered non-marital property, and it would therefore be assigned to the animal’s original owner. If a pet was acquired by either spouse during the marriage, it is most likely considered a marital asset. Because of the changes to Illinois law, courts now consider the animal’s well-being when deciding whether to award sole or joint ownership of the pet during divorce. The spouse who typically fed, walked, and cared for the pet and took the pet to veterinary appointments is often assigned ownership. If a divorcing couple has children, the spouse with the majority of parental responsibilities may argue that he or she should keep the pet so that the children can spend more time with it.

Mediation May Help You Resolve Property Disputes

Many divorcing couples struggle to reach an agreement about property division, child custody, and other divorce issues. Even though it may be difficult to resolve these disputes, couples will often want to negotiate a settlement rather than fighting costly and time-consuming battles in the courtroom. Mediation is a process during which divorcing spouses work with a qualified mediator to negotiate an agreement on their outstanding divorce issues. The mediator is a neutral third party who helps facilitate cooperative, productive discussions about the unresolved divorce issues so the couple can reach a resolution. With help from your family law attorney and a qualified mediator, you and your spouse may be able to agree on an arrangement for your pet. If an agreement cannot be reached, a judge may make a decision about how ownership of the pet should be handled.  

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