Tag Archives: property division

Wheaton divorce attorneyAlthough we usually think of marriage as a romantic union, it is also a financial union. When a couple marries, they combine their property, expenses, and debts. Undoing this financial fusion during divorce can quickly become complex. If you are getting divorced, you may have concerns about what property is rightfully yours and what belongs to your soon-to-be-ex-spouse. Read on to learn about how property is divided in an Illinois divorce and what to do if you need legal guidance during your split.

Illinois is an Equitable Distribution State

When a couple divorces, they have the option of making their own decisions about what property should go to which spouse. However, when divorcing spouses cannot agree to a property distribution arrangement, the court must intervene.

Unlike certain other states, Illinois does not simply split marital property in half and assign 50 percent of the value of the marital estate to each spouse. Instead, Illinois follows equitable distribution laws. According to equitable distribution, marital property is divided equitably, or fairly, depending on the spouses’ financial and life circumstances. Things like each spouse’s income, property, health, future earning capacity, and financial needs are taken into consideration. Before marital property can be divided, the court must determine what property is marital property and eligible for division and what property is separate property which is not divided.

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Wheaton divorce attorneyWhen you and your spouse make the decision to get a divorce, your assets must be valued in order to determine a fair split of the property you accumulated during the marriage. One of the most complex valuations you will experience is the appraisal of any business you own together. Business valuations can quickly grow contentious and accusatory, and having the right attorney on your side may make the difference between an equitable settlement and a long drawn-out battle.

Potential Points of Contention

Unless there is a prenuptial agreement governing the distribution of the business shares, a business that is determined to be a marital asset is subject to division during a divorce. When a couple has worked in the same business, it can be quite difficult to tell what effect each person has had on the company as opposed to their collective effort. One of the most common problems encountered in business valuations is the perception of each spouse and how it may radically differ. For example, one spouse may look at the business and see the worst-case scenario, while the other may see only growth. It tends to depend on who is leaving and who is staying.

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Illinois family law attorney, division of debt at divorceWhen considering divorce, a couple often questions how their assets and property will be divided. While this determination is very important, it is often just as important to consider how the debts of the couple will be divided. In many ways, the division of debt is treated similarly to the division of property. However, there are additional issues to consider when dividing debt between divorcing parties.

Equitable Division

In Illinois, property and debt is divided in a way that is intended to be equitable to both parties. However, equitable division does not necessarily mean both sides will receive an equal share. In making this determination, the court will consider several factors such as the length of the marriage and the financial situation of the parties.

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trust fund, Illinois divorce attorney, division of property upon divorceThe division of marital assets is one of the most important and complex steps in the divorce process. Parties must first determine what the marital assets are and the value of them. Under certain circumstances, property that is part of a trust may be protected from inclusion as marital property. Therefore, it is important for both grantors and beneficiaries of trusts to understand when property in a trust may or may not become part of the division of marital property.

Trust Property 

Under Illinois law, property acquired as a gift or inheritance and kept separate is generally protected from being classified as a marital asset and thus is not part of the division of the marital estate. In such a case, if a beneficiary of a trust divorces, his or her ex-spouse will usually not be given any rights to that non-marital property—a beneficiary of a revocable trust has no legal right to the trust principal or income due to a grantor's right to cancel a trust at any time. Hence, forming a revocable trust is one way in which a grantor can provide for a beneficiary and also protect his or her assets from a beneficiary's ex-spouse at the same time. However, if the funds from a trust are distributed and a beneficiary commingles those funds with marital property, the funds may be considered marital property. Commingling can occur if funds of one spouse are placed into a joint account of both spouses.

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marital property, non-marital property, distributing assets after divorce, property divisionWhen a married couple decides to divorce, it may come as a shock to one spouse when the court rules his or her non-marital property has actually been converted to marital property, and it is therefore subject to equitable division. In fact, the transmutation of non-marital assets into martial assets can happen by accident by either party.

The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) identifies non-marital property as the following:

  • Property acquired by gift, legacy or descent;
  • Property acquired in exchange for other non-marital property;
  • Property acquired by a spouse after a judgment of legal separation;
  • Property both spouses agree is non-marital property;
  • Property acquired through a judgment awarded to a spouse from the other spouse;
  • Property acquired before the marriage; and
  • Any increase in value of non-marital property.

Notwithstanding the definition of marital property as any property acquired by the couple after they are legally married, and the clear listing of what constitutes non-marital property, there are cases where property cannot be easily distinguished as either marital or non-marital.

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In honor of the passing of our founder, Joseph F. Mirabella, Jr., our offices are closed Friday, January 31, 2020.I Agree