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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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Wheaton divorce attorney for financial restraining ordersYou may not be surprised to learn that arguments about money are one of the main sources of conflict in many marriages. While some spouses are eventually able to reach an agreement about how to handle finances, others are not able to resolve their differences and end up filing for divorce. According to one 2017 survey, about 21 percent of divorced individuals named money as the cause of their divorce. Interestingly, the higher a person’s income, the more likely they were to report financial conflict as the main reason for ending the marriage. About 33 percent of individuals with an income of $100,000 or greater said that money-related disagreements led to the split. If you are considering divorce, and you are worried about the financial actions your spouse may take before the divorce is finalized, you may want to protect yourself by obtaining a financial restraining order.

Freezing Marital Assets During Divorce

Some divorcing spouses may make extravagant purchases, use marital assets recklessly, intentionally damage marital property, or make other financial decisions that harm the other spouse. In order to protect divorcing spouses’ finances, Illinois law allows spouses to obtain a temporary court order that guards marital assets against waste or misuse until they can be equitably divided during divorce. According to Illinois law, a financial restraining order can prevent a spouse from “transferring, encumbering, concealing, or otherwise disposing of any property except in the usual course of business or for the necessities of life.”

This type of restraining order may prohibit spouses from selling marital property, closing bank accounts, or changing the beneficiaries on accounts. Depending on the situation, the restraining order may also restrict spouses’ access to certain marital accounts. The provisions contained in a financial restraining order apply to both spouses, so it is important to note that you will also be subject to restrictions and rules if you choose to obtain a financial restraining order.

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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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DuPage County divorce attorney for business valuation

The complexity and cost of divorce can vary significantly depending on a divorcing couple’s financial circumstances. One issue that will greatly complicate a divorce is owning a family business. If you and your spouse own a business, either together or separately, and you are considering ending your marriage, you probably have concerns about how the business will be affected by your divorce, and vice versa. The valuation and division of a jointly owned business can be a major source of conflict during divorce. In these cases, it is highly recommended that you consult a divorce attorney experienced in managing divorces involving business owners.

Should We Sell the Business?

In an Illinois divorce, marital assets are divided between spouses according to equitable distribution. This means that each spouse receives a fair share of marital property according to factors like each spouse’s contribution to the marriage, their income and nonmarital property, and more. However, dividing a business is often not as simple as dividing the funds in a bank account.

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