How Are Cars Divided Between Spouses in an Illinois Divorce?

DuPage County division of marital property attorneyIn the state of Illinois, the division of property between divorcing spouses includes any cars owned by the couple. How vehicles are divided is determined along with other property and assets during the divorce process. Many couples are able to work together to reach an agreement on how to divide assets, but if a settlement cannot be reached through negotiation, mediation, or collaborative law, the distribution of property between the spouses will be determined in court during a trial.

When deciding who will get which marital assets, the court will consider what is “equitable” rather than what is “equal.” This distinction, which is specific to Illinois and many other states, will be discussed further in our next blog post. Regarding cars in general, there are some guidelines to follow when dividing this type of property.

Cars: Separate Property or Marital Property?

Before anything else, it must be determined if the vehicle being discussed is separate property or marital property. Separate property is usually any of the following:

  • Property or other assets obtained prior to the marriage

  • Property or other assets inherited before or after the marriage

  • A gift from a relative or other third party

  • Unrelated court judgments, such as workers’ compensation settlements or personal injury cases

Marital property includes all property or other assets acquired by either spouse during the marriage. If the car in question is considered separate property, then it remains with the spouse who has owned it all along. If, however, the car is marital property, it will need to be divided equitably, even if it is only titled to one spouse.

What Is Considered Equitable With Division of Vehicles?

When cars are considered marital property in Illinois, those vehicles must be divided equitably between spouses. This can be done in many ways. In some cases, it could be equitable to sell a car and split the proceeds evenly, or a vehicle may be awarded to one spouse while the other party receives other marital property of similar value.

In many marriages, each spouse has a vehicle that he or she primarily uses. The simplest way to determine ownership of these vehicles would be to allow each party to keep his or her vehicle, and he or she will be responsible for any remaining auto loans on that vehicle. However, this may not be equitable if one vehicle is worth more than the other or if a higher amount is owed on one vehicle. When determining how to equitably divide a car’s value, a variety of factors may be considered, including:

  • The amount of financial contributions each spouse made to a car’s purchase

  • The likelihood that one spouse might be able to purchase another vehicle anytime soon

  • The need for the car based on each spouse’s employment circumstances

  • The need for the car depending on child custody decisions and the transportation needs of the parent and child

Contact a DuPage County Property Division Lawyer

There are many things to consider when dividing the value of a car in a divorce, and it is not always a simple decision. Usually, there are many nuanced details that are involved in dividing vehicles along with other marital property. That is why you need a Wheaton asset division attorney who knows and understands Illinois law and can advise you on how to achieve a settlement that meets your needs. Call our office at 630-871-1002 to discuss this and other divorce-related topics in your free consultation.


Increasingly Common Causes of Divorce

DuPage County divorce attorneyWhile many of the typical reasons for divorce are longstanding and straightforward, there are some subtler causes that you and your spouse might not have been as attuned to in recent years. Due to new approaches toward marriage and divorce, nearly 50% of married couples may see their marriage end in divorce. Some of these trending causes of divorce include:

  1. Level of interest in having children—For many years, having children was the logical and most common next step taken by a couple after getting married. These days, as evidenced by decreased birth rates, spouses are viewing having children as less of a necessity and more of a personal desire. If you want children, and your spouse does not, this could be a contributing factor to divorce.

  2. Parental interference—If you or your spouse spend a large amount of time with your parents, this may reduce the amount of quality family time you spend with each other. Parents can also influence a spouse’s attitude or approach toward major life decisions in ways the other spouse does not agree with, which can lead to friction in the relationship.

  3. Lack of compatibility—In some cases, two spouses just do not complement each other in the way a loving couple should. While this issue is not as tangible as some other reasons for divorce, it can be a convincing reason to end a marriage in an age of online dating and “plenty of fish in the sea.”

  4. Privacy—These days, with the flood of information and entertainment being consumed every day, and countless technological innovations making it easier for people to interact outside of their own house, it is no surprise that individuality and the resulting need for privacy can interfere with a healthy marriage.

  5. Sex drive—A healthy sex life is no longer the taboo it once was. From medicine and supplements that support sexual vitality to a more open culture surrounding sexuality, you and your spouse might have entirely conflicting views of sex, which can result in relationship problems.

  6. Complications with children from prior relationships—With the increase in divorce rates over the years and more people remarrying later in life with children from prior relationships, it is not always easy to seamlessly blend families. In some cases, step-parents, step-children, and step-siblings may not get along, and a spouse may choose their children over their latest marriage.

  7. An intrusive relationship with a prior spouse or romantic partner—An amicable divorce is much more common than you might expect, and with a world more uninhibited about counseling and psychotherapy, it is not uncommon for ex-spouses to remain friends with each other. Sometimes, previous relationships can make it difficult for new spouses to start their life together.

  8. Not enough knowledge or education about the responsibilities of marriage—“If I had known then what I know now…” is an all-too-common sentiment that accompanies many marriages and subsequent divorces. A more discerning and deliberative decision-making process prior to marriage makes all the difference before rushing to “put a ring on it,” no matter how head-over-heels in love you are.

  9. Preferred geographical location—You may want to live close to your parents, even though your spouse found a job in a different city, or perhaps you want to live in the suburbs, while your spouse is adamant about staying in the city. Is your decision of where to live a compromise either of you can live with, or is it reason enough to consider divorce? Maybe this is not a reason for divorce on its own, but it certainly has the potential to be a contributing factor.

  10. Different parenting styles—In some cases, one parent may be strict and expect a lot from their kids, while the other parent lets them do nearly anything they want. While this could lead to divorce, the truth is that unless you are granted full child custody, your spouse’s approach to parenting will always be an issue. In the age of “helicopter parents” and “bulldozer parents,” there is no way to know for sure just how disruptive your contrast in parenting styles can be to your marriage.

  11. Unemployment or other changes in work—About a decade after the Great Recession, the effects of unemployment are still felt to this day. Unemployment not only changes your finances as a married couple, but it can also give an unemployed spouse much more free time, which could lead to that spouse cheating or picking up destructive habits that could contribute to the decision to file for a divorce. In addition, if one spouse gets a promotion and puts more energy into their career, this could adversely affect the marriage and relationships between parents and children.

Contact a Wheaton Family Law Attorney

If, after reading about all these reasons that people are getting divorced, you realize that you too are struggling with similar issues in your marriage, you may want to consider divorce. If any of these trending reasons for divorce threaten your marriage, consider discussing it further with a DuPage County divorce lawyer. We can walk you through the divorce process and help you make the best decision for your particular situation. Call us at 630-871-1002 for a complimentary consultation.


How Do I Know If I Should Divorce My Spouse in Illinois?

Wheaton, IL divorce attorney irreconcilable differencesIn 2016, Illinois became a “no-fault divorce” state. This means that, in the view of the law, the only acceptable grounds for divorce in Illinois are “irreconcilable differences.” Irreconcilable differences are defined as the “irretrievable breakdown” of a marriage in which attempts at reconciliation have failed, and any further attempts at reconciling the marriage will not be in the best interests of the family.

In most cases, a couple will agree that their marriage has experienced an irretrievable breakdown, and they will simply need to state this in the divorce petition filed by one spouse. However, if one spouse does not agree that the marriage should end, irreconcilable differences will be presumed if the couple lives “separate and apart” for at least six continuous months.

Since irreconcilable differences now apply to every divorce in Illinois, they can encompass a wide variety of reasons that people get divorced. For this post, we will focus on typical reasons for divorce to help you decide if divorce is the right move for your relationship. However, in our next blog post, we will look at some trending reasons for divorce that are less traditional but are still quite common.

Typical Reasons for Divorce

The following reasons why a couple may choose to end their marriage have been well-established, and research has shown that they continue to be common:

  • Finances—Spouses act as financial partners, and if either spouse has mismanaged the money in your relationship, especially in your joint accounts, then it can definitely create a major rift in your marriage. In these cases, an experienced divorce lawyer can bring clarity to financial matters and ensure that the division of marital debt and division of property during the divorce process is handled correctly.

  • Extramarital affairs—If you are cheating on your spouse, or your spouse is cheating on you, and neither of you sees a way to overcome this infidelity through counseling or other means, then divorce might make sense for your situation.

  • Relationship conflict—A telltale sign of marital discord is constant arguments. While it is always good to communicate with your partner about various issues, productive conversations that turn into mean-spirited arguments are bound to adversely affect both the marriage and the children.

  • Lack of communication—Conversely, without open lines of communication between spouses, there will be frequent second-guessing and uncertainty about the status of the relationship, not to mention neglect of other major issues in the marriage.

  • Spousal abuse (physical and/or psychological/emotional)—Domestic violence is a crime, and it is certainly a frequent cause of divorce. There are about 27,000 domestic battery police reports each year in Chicago alone—and there are countless other incidents of domestic violence that go unreported. Moreover, this does not account for the less overt verbal, emotional, psychological, and other abuses that may take place. If you are experiencing domestic abuse, you should speak to your local police department to learn about your options for safely leaving the relationship.

  • Addiction (drug or alcohol abuse)—Drug or alcohol addiction can lead to marital discord and neglect of familial obligations. In these cases, it is often in the best interests of the family to get a divorce. If you or your spouse needs help with addiction, contact a healthcare professional to get the care you need.

  • Getting married early in life—Life-changing events like marriage should be given careful and mature consideration. If you and your spouse rushed into marriage as high school sweethearts or young lovers, you may have found that the pressures of adulthood have caused the love of your youth to dissipate.

  • Health issues—If you or your spouse are having health problems, you will both be faced with a substantial emotional and financial toll. Some marriages cannot survive this.

  • Uncommitted relationship—Marriage takes effort. If either spouse is not fully committed to the relationship, then it might not last.

  • Religious reasons—The first stumbling block in this area might have been the type of service conducted for your marriage. Different religions make this a difficult decision. What is more, these issues do not end at the altar; someday, you might have to consider what religion to raise your kids in, if any. In other cases, one spouse might be less religious than the other, making it difficult to find common ground on numerous issues.

  • Unsupportive family—If you or your spouse are close with your family members, it might be upsetting to realize that parents, siblings, or other loved ones do not approve of the other partner. This can make it demanding to start your new life and family with your spouse while still staying close with your birth family.

Contact a Wheaton Divorce Lawyer

If any of these typical reasons for divorce seem prevalent in your marriage, and you think you may be headed for divorce, you should discuss your situation with a DuPage County divorce attorney. It is important to know what is involved in the divorce process and whether a different route, such as legal separation, might be more appropriate for your particular situation. Reach out to us at 630-871-1002 for a free consultation to see if divorce is the right decision for you.