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DuPage County asset division attorney

Asset division during divorce involves much more than simply splitting a couple’s bank accounts. Complex assets, such as stocks and retirement funds, must also be accounted for. If you are considering getting a divorce in Illinois, you may have concerns about how your combined property will be divided between you and your spouse. You may also be unsure of which assets your spouse is entitled to and which assets are yours alone. Retirement account assets may be the result of years, if not decades, of hard work so they are often a significant portion of the marital estate. Understanding how these assets are divided during divorce is essential to ensure a fair settlement of the marital estate.

Classifying Retirement Assets as Marital or Separate

Illinois is an “equitable distribution” state, which means that property is distributed in an equitable, but not always even, manner during a divorce. Property division is based on many factors, including each spouse’s financial circumstances, their contributions to the acquisition of property, child custody arrangements, and much more. Only marital property is divided during an Illinois divorce. Marital property includes any assets that were acquired during the marriage. Nonmarital, or separate property, includes property acquired through inheritance or gift as well as property obtained by either spouse before the marriage. Retirement funds that a spouse accumulated before getting married are classified as nonmarital, and therefore, not subject to division. However, the portion of the retirement assets that were accumulated during the marriage is considered a marital asset and will need to be divided. It is essential to note that retirement plans will not be divided if a divorcing couple has signed a valid prenuptial agreement that excludes retirement assets.

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Wheaton divorce attorney for financial restraining ordersYou may not be surprised to learn that arguments about money are one of the main sources of conflict in many marriages. While some spouses are eventually able to reach an agreement about how to handle finances, others are not able to resolve their differences and end up filing for divorce. According to one 2017 survey, about 21 percent of divorced individuals named money as the cause of their divorce. Interestingly, the higher a person’s income, the more likely they were to report financial conflict as the main reason for ending the marriage. About 33 percent of individuals with an income of $100,000 or greater said that money-related disagreements led to the split. If you are considering divorce, and you are worried about the financial actions your spouse may take before the divorce is finalized, you may want to protect yourself by obtaining a financial restraining order.

Freezing Marital Assets During Divorce

Some divorcing spouses may make extravagant purchases, use marital assets recklessly, intentionally damage marital property, or make other financial decisions that harm the other spouse. In order to protect divorcing spouses’ finances, Illinois law allows spouses to obtain a temporary court order that guards marital assets against waste or misuse until they can be equitably divided during divorce. According to Illinois law, a financial restraining order can prevent a spouse from “transferring, encumbering, concealing, or otherwise disposing of any property except in the usual course of business or for the necessities of life.”

This type of restraining order may prohibit spouses from selling marital property, closing bank accounts, or changing the beneficiaries on accounts. Depending on the situation, the restraining order may also restrict spouses’ access to certain marital accounts. The provisions contained in a financial restraining order apply to both spouses, so it is important to note that you will also be subject to restrictions and rules if you choose to obtain a financial restraining order.

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Wheaton asset division lawyer 

Division of property is often one of the most consequential aspects of a divorce. Spouses have worked hard to acquire the property they own, and they understandably do not want this property to be divided unfairly. Typically, high-value assets and complex assets like family businesses, real estate, investments, and stocks are more difficult to value and accurately address during divorce than simpler assets. Property division is made even more complicated when marital assets and nonmarital assets are commingled, or mixed. If you have concerns about how your property will be divided during divorce, speak with an experienced divorce attorney as soon as possible to receive guidance customized for your particular situation.   

Property Is Divided According to Equitable Distribution in Illinois

During divorce, spouses have the option of determining their own property division arrangements. This is often accomplished through negotiation, mediation, or collaborative law. However, in some situations, spouses cannot reach an agreement about property without help from the courts. In Illinois, courts divide property according to a method called “equitable distribution.” Property is divided fairly based on the duration of the marriage, provisions made for the spouses’ children, each spouse’s contributions to the marital estate, the spouses’ income and employability, and other factors.

Differentiating Between Marital and Nonmarital Property

Only marital property is divided by Illinois courts in a divorce. Separate property, also called nonmarital property, is assigned to the spouse who originally owned the property. Generally, marital property includes any assets that were purchased or acquired by either spouse during the marriage. Assets that a spouse owned before getting married and property obtained through gift or inheritance are typically classified as nonmarital property and are therefore not divided. 

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Wheaton, IL dissipation of assets lawyerIllinois no longer allows divorcing spouses to claim fault-based grounds for divorce. However, this does not mean that a spouse’s behavior cannot influence a divorce settlement. Spouses who waste or destroy property during the breakdown of their marriage or during divorce proceedings may be guilty of dissipating assets. If you are planning to get divorced or have already started the divorce process, and you believe your spouse has grossly misused marital funds or property, you may have a valid dissipation claim.

Defining Dissipation of Assets

Illinois law defines dissipation as the use of marital property for a purpose not related to the marriage when the marriage is undergoing an irreparable breakdown. Examples of dissipation of assets include situations such as:

  • After a wife files for divorce, a husband decides to “get even” with her. He intentionally destroys thousands of dollars of their furniture and other household property so that the wife cannot be assigned these items during property division.

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DuPage County spousal support lawyer

If you are getting divorced and earn a lower income than your spouse, you probably have many concerns about finances. Making ends meet on a single income can be a daunting prospect. This is especially true if you have been out of the workforce for many years because you were raising your children. Spousal support, also called maintenance or alimony, may offer the financial relief you desperately need. However, only individuals meeting certain criteria will be eligible for spousal support in Illinois.

When Is Alimony Awarded in Illinois?

Not every person who gets divorced will qualify for spousal maintenance. The courts typically only award a spouse maintenance if it is “reasonable and necessary.” There are many factors considered by Illinois courts when deciding whether or not maintenance is appropriate. These include but are not limited to:

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