Tag Archives: marital assests

How Is Marital Property Divided in Complex Divorces in Illinois?

Wheaton complex lawyer property divisionDivorces can be complicated, even if both spouses agree on many of the issues that must be addressed. In some cases, the marital estate may include significant assets, or spouses may earn large incomes. In these complex divorce cases, couples may need to address high-value assets or property, business valuation, spousal maintenance, and more. The division of property can have a long-term impact on one or both spouses, so this area needs to be addressed carefully. If you are entering the divorce process, it is important to understand your rights and the near-term and long-term impact of the decisions you make.

Marital Assets

The marital estate includes any property that was obtained during the course of your marriage. Illinois is an equitable distribution state, which means that marital property will be divided equitably, but not necessarily equally. In some cases, litigation in court may be necessary to resolve disputes over the division of assets; however, it is often more beneficial if spouses can work together to reach an agreement on these issues outside of court.

High-value assets often include many different types of monetary funds or possessions, such as the following:

  • Retirement plans

  • Real estate

  • Investments, including stocks and bonds

  • Executive bonuses

  • Trusts

  • Checking or savings accounts

Retirement plans may include 401(k)s, IRAs, or pension benefits. The amount contributed or earned by the retirement plan during the marriage is considered a marital asset and thus must be divided between spouses. In Illinois, a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) is typically used to divide retirement accounts between divorcing spouses, and this allows funds to be withdrawn or transferred while avoiding the need to pay penalties or taxes. However, a QDRO is not needed for IRAs, and retirement plans governed by the Illinois Pension Code require a Qualified Illinois Domestic Relations Order (QILDRO).

If a couple owns a business together, this can further complicate matters. Determining the value of the business is essential to ensure a fair distribution of assets. In order to protect family businesses and professional practices, it is important to consider the options for dividing business assets while keeping a business intact. Spouses should also be aware of the tax consequences involved in dividing these assets to ensure that they are prepared for financial success after the divorce has been completed.

Another issue that can arise in a complex divorce case is the possibility that a spouse is attempting to hide assets to avoid dividing them with their former partner. The penalties for hiding assets during divorce can range from a settlement that awards a much greater amount of the marital assets to the other spouse to the offending spouse being held in contempt of court and facing criminal charges for fraud or perjury.

Contact a DuPage County Complex Divorce Attorney

Divorce proceedings can be complicated for any couple. However, the divorce process is likely to be even more complex when a lot of different types of assets are involved, especially those with a high value. At the Andrew Cores Family Law Group, our attorneys are experienced in negotiating and resolving many different types of divorces disputes, including those involving marital property. Regardless of your individual situation, we can help you reach a fair settlement and ensure that your financial interests are protected. To schedule a free consultation, call a knowledgeable Wheaton high asset divorce lawyer today at 630-871-1002.





Choose Your Family Law Mediator Wisely

Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer, divorce lawsIn certain divorce cases, mediation can be a powerfully effective way for spouses to quickly and inexpensively resolve their differences in a divorce proceeding. Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution in which the divorcing parties sit down face-to-face with a mediator. The mediator is supposed to be a neutral third party who encourages the divorcing parties to dialogue about their differences in an attempt to find a mutually-agreeable resolution. Mediation can be used to resolve disputes concerning:

  • Valuation of disputed marital assets;
  • Property division and/or division of debt;
  • Child custody and parenting time arrangements; and/or
  • Other disputed issues.

Despite its cost-saving benefits, mediation comes with its drawbacks as well. The usefulness of a mediation session depends in large part on the mediator him- or herself. This is why it is important to choose your mediator wisely.

What Are Some of the Potential Drawbacks of Mediation with Certain Mediators?

Parties who submit to the mediation process (either because a court orders the parties to do so or because the parties themselves want to give mediation a try) are under no obligation to reach an agreement with the mediator. However, if the parties do reach a mediated agreement and this agreement is reduced to writing, it can be very difficult for a party to be released from the commitments he or she agreed to during mediation.

This can be especially problematic in situations where the mediator is not a licensed attorney and does not understand essential legal principles. For example, a property settlement agreement in which the two spouses attempt to require a third party to perform a certain action may ultimately be deemed unenforceable after the fact. However, a finding that part of a mediated agreement is unenforceable typically will not enable a party to avoid fulfilling his or her remaining obligations under the mediated agreement.

What Can I Do to Help Ensure My Mediated Agreement Is in My Best Interest?

If you are headed toward mediation, there are several things you can do to protect your legal interests and ensure you do not end up on the losing end of a mediated agreement because of unenforceable provisions or waivers of important rights:

  • First, if at all possible attempt to agree on an approved mediator with your spouse. Research the qualifications of the approved mediators in your area and attempt to find one that is a licensed attorney or who has legal education. Do not agree to a mediator who simply has the lowest fees;
  • Determine if you can bring your DuPage County divorce attorney with you to mediation sessions. In this way, your attorney can advise you on the legal ramifications of any proposed agreement and can inform you if any proposed provisions are likely to be unenforceable. If you cannot bring your attorney with you, be sure to discuss mediation with your attorney before your mediation session and discuss with him or her any proposed agreement before signing the agreement.

Our firm is committed to helping you obtain the maximum benefit possible from mediation. Contact our skilled DuPage County divorce attorneys today by calling our Wheaton, Oswego, or Chicago office or by contacting us online.