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DuPage County asset division attorney for homemakersWhen a couple chooses to get a divorce, one of the key issues they must resolve is how to split up their property and assets. In an equitable distribution state like Illinois, property is divided in a fair and equitable manner rather than split equally between the spouses. A judge will look at a number of factors to determine how to divide assets fairly. But what if one of the parties did not earn an income because he or she stayed home to raise the children? According to a new study, many people are still conflicted about what homemakers should be entitled to after the divorce.

Who Is More Likely to Be a Homemaker?

According to research, about one in five parents are stay-at-home parents. 27% of all U.S. mothers are stay-at-home parents, while around 7% of fathers stay home to raise the children. While around 10% of mothers who hold a master’s degree or higher choose to opt out of the workplace in order to raise their children, these moms make up about 4% of all stay-at-home mothers. Surveys have also found that the majority of Americans believe that mothers do a better job than fathers of caring for children. 

Results of the Study About Dividing Marital Property

Should caretaking by a stay-at-home parent be valued as highly as the contributions of the partner who brings in the income? A recent study by two professors at Vanderbilt University recruited more than 3,000 subjects to determine their opinion of what homemakers should receive in a divorce. In the study, the professors presented a case of a heterosexual couple where the wife was the homemaker, and the husband initiated the divorce after 17 years of marriage. When making decisions about how to divide the couple’s property, women were more likely to award the wife a higher amount, regardless of the wife’s educational level. Men were more likely to award the wife higher amounts of property if she also had a higher education level.

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Wheaton property division attorney

When you are going through a divorce, you are not only separating from your ex-spouse, but you will also need to split up the assets you own together. Depending on the length of the marriage, it can be difficult to untangle your shared assets and determine who should keep what property. Here are some basic rules for how marital property is divided in Illinois:

Marital Property

During a divorce, Illinois courts only have the authority to divide up marital property. Marital property is defined as property or assets that were obtained during the marriage. Inheritances or gifts that were given only to one spouse and assets obtained before the marriage or after legal separation are considered separate assets that are not eligible for division during the divorce. However, marital and separate property may not always be so easy to define. If an asset that would have been considered separate property was used by both spouses, or if it was “commingled” with marital property, the court may consider it to be a marital asset. For example, if you earned money before your marriage but transferred it into a joint account, then it may be considered marital property.

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Lombard divorce lawyer for division of propertyMarriage is like a knot, and that knot can be very tricky to untie if you are getting a divorce. One of the most difficult parts of divorce can be the division of property. Many states use “community property” laws, which say that any assets obtained during a marriage are subject to equal division in the case of a divorce. However, Illinois is not a community property state, and instead, it uses a principle known as “equitable distribution.” This states that assets will be fairly and equitably divided between spouses in just proportions rather than being split 50/50.

Types of Property

There are two types of property that a married couple may own: marital property and separate property. Marital property is defined as all assets and debts obtained by either spouse during a marriage. This includes not just tangible property but also intangible assets. Examples may include vehicles, furniture, clothing, jewelry, bank accounts, trusts, real estate property, and business interests--as long as they were obtained during the marriage. Liabilities such as credit card debts or home and auto loans are also considered marital property. 

Separate property includes any assets that were obtained by one spouse before or after the marriage, as well as any inheritances given solely to one spouse. Marital property will be divided between spouses, but separate property will continue to be owned by the spouse that acquired it.

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Posted on in Divorce

DuPage County divorce lawyersWhen navigating the divorce process, it is common for parties to feel discomfort while going over contentious issues. For many, the most contentious issues revolve around a couple's marital property. Regardless of the economic position of the couple, property division can include nuanced financial portfolios, valuable assets, and land property. As you and your legal team prepare for the divorce process, it is important to first gain an understanding of marital property division.

What Constitutes Marital Property

Here in Illinois, marital assets must be equitably distributed. To be clear, that simply means that all marital property must be divided fairly (not equally). Before a court can make any decision concerning marital assets, they must first determine what property is marital and what property is non-marital.

According to Illinois State Law, marital property is defined as property acquired during the marriage. Marital assets can range from real estate and vehicles to bank accounts and business interests. Non-marital assets include real estate acquired prior to the marriage, property or assets that are excluded because of a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, and property or assets that were purchased with nonmarital assets.

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Can You Be Held Responsible for Your Spouse's Debt?

DuPage County divorce attorney right, spouse's debtThe distribution of marital property is a key issue that comes up in divorce proceedings. Illinois is an "equitable distribution" state, which means marital property is not necessarily divided in half, but rather in a way that is "fair and equitable."

The first step in determining which party is responsible for paying off debt is to determine whether the debt is marital or non-marital. Marital debt is debt acquired by the parties during the course of the marriage. This debt includes but is not limited to residential mortgages, car loans, and credit card debt. It does not matter whose name is on the debt. However, the important distinction is what the debt was used for, and whether it benefitted the marital estate.

Student Loan Debt and Marital Assets

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