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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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DuPage County divorce lawyers, divorce process, divorce self-care, post-divorce, divorce therapyAccording to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 827,261 American couples divorced throughout 2016. During a divorce, former spouses are forced to focus on the logistical side of their separation. From resource allocation, to issues of child custody, divorces can be complicated and aggravating. In the midst of the divorce, many Americans forget to focus on their own personal self care.

While a divorce can be trying for the whole family, neglecting to take care of one’s self can be a detrimental mistake. Finding a compassionate and experienced legal team can help you turn your focus from the legal side of the divorce to the emotional side of a separation from a spouse.

Getting the Self-Care You Need

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The financial implications of divorce are well-known and, for some, highly feared. In fact, studies indicate that it takes an average of five years to financially recover. Still, it is not just a couple's immediate funds that are affected; retirement accounts, which are often considered a part of the marital estate in divorce, may also be affected. Learn how you can mitigate against the damage with help from the following information.

Beware of Short-Term Thinking

If you are divorcing during your working years and still have time until retirement, it may be tempting to discount the impact that divorce may have on your retirement. Unfortunately, this mindset could cause you to be caught off-guard during the negotiation process. You may even be tempted to take a settlement that is not in your best interest, perhaps for an asset that does not hold the same long-term value or benefits. An attorney can examine your situation, advise you of your options, and help you understand the possible consequences of your decisions.

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Divorce is rarely easy, and it is not typically something that people want to endure. Still, it is sometimes necessary to ensure the happiness of both parties. So, while some spouses may experience initial resistance when they ask for a divorce, the matter is typically resolved with time. What happens, though, when the issue does not resolve, and a spouse refuses to sign the divorce papers? Are you then stuck in your marriage, or are there other strategies you can employ? Rest assured: divorce may still be an option; it may just look a little different than you expected.

Why Some Spouses Refuse to Sign

There are many reasons why a spouse might refuse to sign divorce papers. Some strongly believe in the sanctity of marriage, either because of religion or how they were raised. Others may fear judgment from their family, friends, or professional and social circles. Then there are some who refuse to sign because they are struggling to come to terms with the end of their marriage, and they may even experience so much anger and bitterness that they use their refusal as a form of retaliation. Still, there are some who have a history of emotional, physical, mental, financial, or sexual abuse and they may refuse to sign so they can maintain control over the victim.

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The division of assets in divorce is generally thought of in tangible terms - bank accounts, retirement accounts, and real estate. Yet intellectual property, such as software, copyrights, and trademarks can carry value as well - and they are becoming more and more common in divorces. So how, exactly, do you value these intangible assets? The following explains.

Intellectual Property Often Overlooked in Divorce

Although intellectual property can have significant value, it is often overlooked in the process in divorce. This is due, in part, to its intangibility. However, it is also an issue because the asset is often "hidden" during the divorce proceedings. In some cases, it is out of mere oversight or ignorance. In others, it is an intentional act, used to reduce the payout to a deserving spouse. This can be especially problematic when the disadvantaged spouse is not even aware of what was created by their creative, tech-savvy, or inventive spouse. Reduce the risk by ensuring you have an experienced divorce lawyer on your side.

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