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DuPage County property division attorney for home ownershipWhile the emotional implications of divorce can certainly be difficult to contend with, the logistical and financial consequences of divorce are often just as taxing. If you and your spouse have recently split up, you are probably looking for a new place to stay. Many people choose to rent an apartment or stay with family or friends while their divorce is pending, but others choose to actually purchase a home. If you would prefer to buy rather than rent, you may be wondering how the decision to purchase a new home will affect your divorce. Before making any major financial decisions during your divorce, It is crucial to understand how Illinois law affects the division of assets.  

Equitable Distribution of Marital Assets

Before we can discuss the consequences of buying a home while going through a divorce, it is important to understand how Illinois courts divide marital property. Illinois is an equitable distribution state. Courts divided marital property equitably, or fairly, based on several factors, including the spouses’ employment and financial circumstances, their future earning capacity, the standard of living established during the marriage, and more. Unlike in community property states, it is possible that one spouse may receive a greater share of the marital estate than the other during an Illinois divorce. 

Marital assets include any property or debts accumulated by either spouse during the course of the marriage. If you buy a home while you are still legally married and before a legal separation, the home will likely be considered marital property, and therefore, the value of the home will be subject to division during divorce. This is true even if the home is only titled in your name.

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Wheaton asset division attorney for vehiclesIf you are like many people, your car, truck, or other vehicle is an essential component of your everyday life. You may have also spent a great deal of time, effort, and money making payments on your vehicle and keeping it maintained. It is therefore understandable to have concerns about who will retain ownership of your vehicle after divorce. You may question whether your spouse has the right to keep a car that is only titled in your name or worry that you will be forced to sell the vehicle and split the proceeds. Understanding the laws that govern asset distribution during divorce is key to reaching a fair divorce settlement.

Illinois Laws Regarding Ownership of Vehicles and Divorce

You and your spouse may be able to resolve property division concerns such as vehicle ownership through negotiations, mediation, or collaborative law. However, not every divorcing couple is able to reach a property distribution arrangement without court intervention. If your divorce case is litigated, a legal doctrine called “equitable distribution” will be used to determine which spouse gets what assets. Separate property, meaning property acquired by a party before getting married, is typically assigned to the original owner of the property. Property received in an inheritance is also usually classified as separate property. Assets that are acquired by either spouse during the marriage are considered marital property. If you purchased your vehicle after you got married, it is part of the marital estate and subject to division. This means that even if your vehicle is titled in your name alone, your spouse will have the same rights to the vehicle as you do.

Factors Considered by the Court During Division of Motor Vehicles

There are a few different ways that vehicles may be handed during the property division process. The vehicle may be sold and the profits split between the spouses, or one spouse may keep the car, while the other spouse keeps assets of similar value. When determining who will own a vehicle after divorce, Illinois courts may consider a number of different factors. The amount of money that each spouse contributed to the acquisition of the vehicle is one consideration. Each spouse’s income and employment circumstances as well as the spouses’ transportation needs are also considered. Parental responsibilities and parenting time arrangements may also influence who gets a vehicle, since a parent may need a larger vehicle to transport children to school or activities.

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Wheaton divorce attorney for child custody and property divisionThere is no doubt that social media can have a huge impact on divorce proceedings and family law matters. Although you may not realize it, the things you post on social media can be admissible as evidence in court. If you are getting divorced, you should know that the messages, photographs, and other information you are sharing online may be scrutinized and potentially used against you.

Proceed With Caution When Using Social Media During Child Custody Disputes

If you and your spouse disagree about the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time, you should be especially cautious about what you post on social media. When Illinois courts are considering what type of parenting arrangement is in a child’s best interests, they will consider a wide range of factors listed in the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, including the child’s relationship with his or her parents, the parents’ physical and mental health, and more. One factor that often gets overlooked is “the willingness and ability of each parent to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing relationship between the other parent and the child.” If you make disparaging comments about your spouse, it could be construed as an unwillingness to encourage a good relationship between your child and his or her other parent.

Social Media May Provide Clues About Financial Fraud

Courts can only make appropriate decisions about spousal maintenance, child support, and asset distribution when both parties are honest about their financial circumstances. If you suspect that your spouse may be lying about finances in order to manipulate the divorce settlement in his or her favor, social media may contain clues about this deception. For example, if you are pursuing spousal maintenance, your spouse may underreport his or her income in an attempt to avoid paying his or her fair share of alimony. However, if he or she posts pictures of expensive purchases and luxury vacations on Facebook, the court may have reason to look more closely into his or her true financial circumstances. If you have reason to suspect that your spouse is hiding assets, contact an experienced divorce attorney right away.

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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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