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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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DuPage County divorce attorney division of property

When a married couple decides to divorce, one of the most pressing questions is often, “What should we do with the family home?” Some individuals decide to stay in the family home and “buy out” their soon-to-be ex-spouse. Other times, one spouse takes ownership of the home while the other spouse receives property that is roughly equal in value. For some divorcing couples, the choice that makes the most sense is to sell the home and split the profits. Selling your home while going through a separation or divorce can be very complicated both personally and legally. There are several things you should keep in mind when deciding how to handle your family home when it comes to the division of property in your Illinois divorce.

Financial Concerns Regarding the Sale of Your Home

Before proceeds from the sale of your home can be divided, you will need to pay off the mortgage as well as any second mortgage or home equity line of credit. You must also pay the brokers’ fees and any capital gains tax that applies. Tax liability may not be high on your list of concerns, but it can have major financial ramifications during the sale of a house. 

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Wheaton divorce lawyer spousal supportAlthough the overall divorce rate in the United States has been declining, there is one demographic that is getting divorced more now than ever before. People over age 50 are divorcing at a rate which is double what it was 30 years ago. Some of these divorces involve couples who were married for 10, 20, or even 30+ years. Deciding to get a divorce after a long marriage can be one of the hardest choices a person ever makes. Leaving the comfort of a familiar relationship to find a happier life as a single person can be understandably intimidating. In addition, spouses who divorce after a long marriage must consider issues that other couples may not need to worry about.

Adjusting to the Change May Be Emotionally Strenuous

While any divorce is going to involve a degree of emotional and psychological stress, ending a long marriage can be especially difficult. If you and your spouse have been together for many years, adjusting to life without that person can be painful – even if you are the one who initiated the separation. Experts encourage individuals going through divorce after a long marriage to consider finding additional sources of support. This may include speaking with a counselor, joining a support group, or simply reaching out to friends and family that you trust.   

You or Your Spouse May Be Entitled to Spousal Maintenance

In Illinois, alimony or spousal support is referred to as spousal maintenance. While this type of support is not awarded in every divorce, the chances of spousal maintenance being a concern in your divorce increases if the marriage lasted a long time. Maintenance is most often awarded when a spouse sacrificed their educational or career opportunities for the benefit of the marriage or family. For example, if a mother stayed home to raise the couple’s children for the last 15 years, reentering the workforce is going to be extremely difficult. The court may award the mother rehabilitative maintenance until she can gain the skills or education needed to obtain employment. In some divorce cases, especially those involving a marriage of 20 years or more, permanent spousal maintenance may be awarded.

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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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