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Rolling Meadows marital property division lawyerWhen a married couple decides to get a divorce, their assets will be divided between them. In Illinois, this can be done between the two parties out of court, but if an agreement cannot be reached, then the court steps in with a system called equitable distribution. This system intends to divide properly fairly, but it does not mean that all assets are divided equally. Some of the factors used to determine how to divide marital property include:

  • The distribution of wealth
  • The length of the marriage
  • The couple’s standard of living
  • Future parental responsibility 
  • The health, income, and age of the individuals 

With these factors, it is still important to take action before your divorce to protect yourself financially, because the outcomes of these decisions are often uncertain. 

Know Your Finances

Before the divorce process begins, it will help to learn as much as you can about your personal finances. Begin tracking how much you earn, how much you spend, and any future expenses. Start creating a budget focused around necessities such as food, shelter, and medical care for yourself and your children. Use previous statements, bank records, and records of expenses to plan for the future. All of this information will not only help you, but it can be used to demonstrate your financial needs to the court when dividing marital property. 

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Rolling Meadows divorce asset division lawyerDivorce is an emotionally daunting experience, but it can also be financially daunting, especially when it comes to the assets you own. Splitting your assets during divorce can be a lengthy process, and it can become frustrating if you and your ex-spouse get into bitter arguments about who gets what or how certain property should be allocated. Illinois law dictates that marital property is subject to equitable distribution, and non-marital property is not. In a nutshell, marital property includes any assets that were acquired during the marriage. It is important to understand how to divide certain assets, including the following types of marital property:

1. The House

The easiest way to divide this real estate asset is to sell your house and split the money. This works if neither spouse has a particular attachment to the home, and it offers an easier, less stressful way of dealing with what is often one of the most valuable marital assets. Before you sell your home, you should get the house appraised, ensuring that you know exactly what your property is worth.

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Schaumburg division of marital property attorneyThe process of divorce can be lengthy and complicated, and issues related to the property that a couple owns can often be very difficult to resolve. When determining how to divide property during divorce, couples should be sure to consider the following:

  • Marital property - Any property that a couple acquires during their marriage is considered marital property, and Illinois law states that these assets should be fairly and equitably divided between divorcing spouses. However, “fair and equitable” does not necessarily mean “equal;” rather; each spouse should receive a “just proportion” of the marital assets.
  • Non-marital property - Property which a spouse owned prior to the marriage or which they received by gift or inheritance is not subject to equitable division during divorce. A prenuptial or postnuptial agreement may also state that certain property is non-marital property. However, marital and non-marital property can become commingled, making it difficult to determine ownership. In some cases, non-marital property may be converted to marital property, or one spouse may be obligated to repay the other spouse for improvements they contributed to non-marital property.
  • Real estate - The marital home may be one of the most valuable assets owned by a married couple, and determining how to divide it may be difficult. Spouses may choose to sell the house and split any profits from the sale, or one spouse may purchase the other spouse’s share of the equity in the home.
  • Debt - In addition to the assets a couple owns, the debts they owe (such as credit card debts or automobile loans) must also be divided equitably between spouses. However, spouses should be aware that if their name is on an account, a creditor may attempt to collect debts from them if their ex-spouse fails to make payments.
  • Family businesses - The assistance of a business appraiser is often required to determine the value of a family-owned business. One spouse may wish to purchase the other spouse’s interests in the business in order to ensure that the business will be able to remain operational after the divorce. If this is not possible, the spouses may wish to continue co-owning the business and working as partners after their divorce, with the option for a spouse to “buy out” the other’s share at a future date.
  • Retirement plans - The balance of retirement savings accounts should be divided between spouses, and a person may also be able to receive a portion of their ex-spouse’s pension benefits. When distributing these assets between spouses, a Qualified Domestic Relations Order can be used to avoid penalties or taxes for early withdrawal.
  • Social Security - Spouses who were married for at least 10 years may be able to receive half of their ex-spouse’s Social Security benefits when they reach the age of 62, as long as they have been divorced for two or more years. A person can only receive benefits from one source, so if their own Social Security benefits are larger than half of their ex-spouse’s benefits, receiving their own benefits would be a preferable option.

Contact a Barrington Divorce Lawyer

During divorce, it is important to consider every aspect of your property division settlement to ensure that assets and debts are divided correctly, providing you with the resources you need in the future. If you need help resolving issues related to the division of marital property, the attorneys at Anderson and Associates, P.C. can help you understand your rights and advocate for your interests throughout the divorce process. Contact our Palatine divorce attorneys at 847-995-9999 to arrange a free consultation.

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