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Arguments, disagreements, or even silent troubles over money in marriage are extremely common in America. That is because most couples are not sure how to broach the subject, yet even those who attempt to work through their money issues often feel as if at least one of them always walks away from the conversation feeling angry, hurt, taken advantage of, or ignored. Unfortunately, if the issues are never resolved, the couple then becomes at an increased risk for divorce. Worse yet, the issues that plagued them in marriage may also find their way into the courtroom.

Divorce Rarely Eliminates Money Troubles

If money has been a problem in your marriage, then it is likely that it will continue to be an issue during your divorce. Part of this is due to the very nature of divorce - the way it pits one party against another - but it can also be a lingering symptom of unhealthy money habits, behaviors, and conversations. For example, if one party is a saver and the other prefers to spend, then there one spouse may need to take steps to prevent dissipation of the marital estate. Alternatively, if the couple regularly argued over the contributions that a stay-at-home parent made, their work may continue to be devalued by their spouse in the divorce proceedings.

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Divorce is more than just severing marital ties; it is also a new start. For some, that new start could be exactly what is needed to advance a career or grow a business. However, one should be aware that there are many financial risks tied to divorce. As such, it is crucial to start building a post-divorce financial plan as soon as reasonably possible. The following information can help you get started. It also provides you with insight into the divorce process and its potential pitfalls.

Examine Your Finances and Expenses

In marriage, you and your spouse likely shared income and expenses. Post-divorce, the income you earn will be yours, but so will your expenses. As such, it is crucial that you know what money you have coming in and what you are paying out. Perhaps even more important is knowing where that money is going; knowing this can help you shave off the excess. For example, if you are the one that pays the cable bill, but you rarely watch television, you can remove it from your planned monthly expenditures.

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Although divorce is a somewhat common occurrence, there are many misconceptions about how it works. More specifically, divorcing couples are often misinformed or confused about how the division of assets operates in Illinois. The following addresses these common misconceptions, and explains where you can find assistance for your divorce.

Assets Acquired During Marriage Are Not Always Community Property

Often, divorcing couples assume that all assets obtained during marriage are community property. However, this is not always the case. There are many circumstances in which assets may belong only to one party. For example, if a gift is given explicitly to one spouse, the money was never co-mingled, and the spouse can prove that it was a gift solely for them, they may be able to keep the asset as personal property, rather than community property. If you have questions about community property versus personal property in divorce, talk to an experienced lawyer.

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Though money is one of the most common causes of divorce, it is not an issue that ends because of divorce. In fact, many couples find that their financial woes are just starting. To make matters worse, they must somehow find the time to manage the legal and financial aspects of their divorce while also coping with the emotional stress. It is no wonder so many find themselves overwhelmed! Combat this problem with help from the following information on the most common and complex divorce-related money issues.

Asset Division

Regardless of whether you have a little, or a lot, division of assets can be highly complex. This is because what was once intertwined must now be unraveled. Businesses, which may have been invested in by both spouses, must be valued and divided. Homes, vacation property, investment properties, and other real estate must be valued. Some may even have to be liquidated to ensure adequate division of their value. Then there are retirement and pension accounts, bank accounts, artwork, furniture, family heirlooms, and other possessions.

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Divorce is more than just an emotionally complex situation; it is a process that can financially devastate anyone, including those with a high net worth. On one hand, those that have built a fortune could stand to lose more than half of their marital estate. This is because Illinois is considered an equitable distribution state, so assets are distributed "fairly" in divorce, not equally. On the other hand, you could have a spouse that tries to hide or deplete assets to keep a disadvantaged spouse in the dark. Either situation could have a significant impact on the financial future of one or both parties. Reduce your risk of experiencing such a fate and learn how to protect your assets in divorce with help from the following tips.

Collect Documentation and Store it Safely

Regardless of which side of the divorce you are on, it is critical that you gather as much documentation as you possibly can. Search for credit card bills, any information on retirement accounts, bank statements on any joint or individual accounts, and any other financial paperwork you can find. Make copies and then store them in a safe place. Oftentimes, these documents can disappear during divorce proceedings, and that can make for complications in your case. Alternatively, if you are struggling to obtain paperwork, talk to your attorney about doing a Discovery on your marital assets.

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