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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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Posted on in Divorce

DuPage County property division lawyer family homeDeciding to get a divorce is a much bigger decision than just choosing to split from your partner. Ending your marriage may potentially mean that you will see your kids less often, and you will need to give up ownership of some of the property you own. Determining how to handle ownership of the family home is often one of the most complex issues to be addressed during divorce. Some divorcing couples choose to sell their house and split the profits, but one person may not want to uproot their life. If both parties wish to continue living in the marital home, then disputes over the division of marital property may be difficult to resolve. If you are looking to retain ownership of your home, you should consider the following:

Determine the Value of the House

If you want to keep your house, you will need to buy out your partner’s share of the equity in the home, and the mortgage will need to be refinanced in your name. The equity is the value of the house minus the amount that is owed on the mortgage. It may be necessary to perform an appraisal or consult with a real estate professional to determine the true value of the home. 

Decide How to Divide the Home’s Equity

Once a proper value has been placed on the home, you will need to determine each spouse’s share of the equity. Illinois is an “equitable distribution” state, meaning that marital assets should be divided fairly between divorcing spouses. A home’s equity may be split evenly between spouses, or another fair and equitable arrangement may be reached. Spouses may be able to negotiate an arrangement between themselves, but if they cannot decide on this or other issues, the ultimate decision may be left up to the judge in their case.

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wheaton asset division lawyerDivorce can be difficult for everyone involved. After you make the decision to divorce, you will want to be sure you will have the financial resources you need after completing the divorce process. During the divorce proceedings, you might be tempted to “rip it off like a Band-Aid” and get things over with as soon as possible. While this may seem like an easy strategy, it will not necessarily benefit you, and making decisions too quickly could result in significant financial difficulties in the future. Below are two important tips to keep in mind as you complete the process of dividing marital assets during your divorce.

Know the Liquidity of Your Assets

Liquid assets are assets that can be easily obtained and assessed, such as bank accounts, retirement funds, 401(k)s, etc. Other types of property, like a home or a car, are called illiquid assets, because while their value may be high, it can be a difficult process to sell that property at its actual cash value.

Marital property may be divided in a way in which one party receives liquid assets, while the other receives illiquid assets. However, for the party who received illiquid assets, such as the house, complications can arise. If the assets are tied up in the value of the house, they may struggle to pay expenses such as utility bills and property taxes. During the process of marital property division, it is important to make sure both parties have liquid assets, or else one party may need to sell their home in order to cover their basic living expenses.

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Post-Divorce Financial SecurityWhen a couple decides that their marriage is no longer healthy, a divorce may be the best option. A divorce can provide a new start and a healthier living situation for yourself and any children involved. However, the divorce process can also be incredibly complicated, particularly when it comes to the division of marital assets such as bank accounts, retirement plans, and investments. To secure your financial security after divorce, the first and most important step you can take is to choose a divorce attorney you can believe in.

Here are three more things to keep in mind to protect your financial security in a divorce.

Avoid Excessive Spending Prior to Divorce

As a couple’s relationship comes to a close, it is entirely common to feel a wide range of emotions. In some cases, the emotions of an impending divorce can prompt reckless spending. According to Illinois state law, when a person spends marital assets for purposes independent of the marriage as the marriage is coming to an inevitable end, this is called dissipation of marital assets. Common forms of dissipation of marital assets include spending money on an affair, intentionally harming shared assets such as a car or family heirlooms, or buying expensive personal items for yourself. Before making any excessive expenditures just before or during the divorce process, speak with an attorney to make sure you understand the impact that such expenditures could have on the division of your marital property.

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With divorce comes the division of debts and assets. For many couples, this can be a contentious issue. However, it may be made worse if one divorcing party has a spending problem. Assets can be depleted, sometimes significantly, which can result in a decreased settlement. Be it an intentional depletion of assets or a simple issue with knowing how to budget and spend accordingly, the following information can help you deal with a wasteful spouse during a divorce.

Why Continued Sharing of an Account May be Necessary

On the one hand, the solution to asset depletion might seem simple: just stop sharing accounts. Unfortunately, this is not always an option. In some cases, it may be difficult to untangle joint assets. As such, the assets may need to be shared until the divorce is finalized. In other cases, one of the spouses may be caring for the children but not have enough to support them; since the children should not have to suffer, sharing of assets may be required.

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