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.

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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DuPage County asset division lawyer for real estateReal estate considerations are often one of the most complex parts of property division during divorce. If you and your spouse own one or more rental properties together, you may be unsure of what will happen to this property after you are divorced. You have probably put a great deal of time, effort, and money into maintaining the property, and you may rely heavily on the income generated by tenants. As with any complex property issues during divorce, it is highly recommended that divorcing spouses who own rental properties receive legal guidance from an experienced attorney.  

Options for Rental Properties During an Illinois Divorce

Divorcing spouses in Illinois have the option of working out their own agreements for property division outside of the courtroom. With help from your lawyer, you and your spouse may be able to negotiate a rental property arrangement that does not leave either of you at a major financial loss. There are several different ways that spouses may divide rental properties during divorce. Some choose to have the rental property appraised so they can sell the property and split the profits. Another option is for one spouse to retain complete ownership of the property and “buy out” the other spouse. The spouses may also agree upon a property division arrangement that assigns ownership of the rental property to one spouse while the other spouse is assigned other marital property of similar value. For example, one spouse may own the rental property, while the other spouse will own the family home. Divorcing spouses may also choose to retain joint ownership of the property and continue to share the rental income.

If spouses cannot reach an agreement regarding their rental property through negotiation or mediation, the court will have to intervene. Illinois courts divide property during divorce according to “equitable distribution.” This means that assets are divided fairly based on each of the spouse’s financial circumstances, contributions to the marital estate, and several other factors. Only marital property is divided in an Illinois divorce. Property that was acquired by either spouse before getting married is considered non-marital property that is not subject to division. Due to the complex issues involved when dividing rental properties and other marital assets, the assistance of an experienced divorce lawyer is often needed.

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DuPage County asset division lawyers 401k IRA pensionProperty division is often one of the most complex aspects of divorce. The division of retirement plans can be especially complicated. If you are getting divorced, you may have concerns about how your or your spouse’s IRA, 401(k), pension plan, or other retirement benefits will be divided. In Illinois, marital property is divided according to “equitable distribution.” Non-marital property, or property which was obtained by either spouse before the marriage, is not eligible for division. The specifics of how your retirement plan will be handled during divorce will vary depending on your unique circumstances, so it is important to contact an attorney and discuss your legal options.

Is My Retirement Plan Part of the Marital Estate?

Property accumulated during a marriage is typically considered part of the marital estate. Only certain gifts and inheritances are exempt from this rule. So, if you earned retirement funds through work that occurred during the marriage, these funds are marital property. If you started contributing to a retirement plan before you got married and then continued to make contributions during the marriage, part of the retirement plan may be considered marital property, and part of the plan may be considered non-marital property. However, retirement plans excluded from the marital estate through a valid prenuptial or postnuptial agreement are not eligible for division. 

There are several options available for dividing these funds during the property distribution process. One option is for the retirement funds and benefits to be divided between the spouses through a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO). Another option is for one spouse to keep the retirement funds while the other spouse receives marital assets which are of approximately equal value.

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