Tag Archives: marital property

How Is Student Loan Debt Handled During Divorce?

DuPage County debt division attorneyIn 2017, the average student loan debt for graduates was over $37,000, which would amount to more than $45,000 when paid over 10 years with an average interest rate. This is a considerable amount of money. Graduate degrees are even more costly; the average student with a graduate degree has over $84,000 in debt, while the average medical school student has an astounding sum of $246,000 of debt. Many spouses may wonder what happens to this debt during divorce. This is a good question, because these debts can have a profound impact on a person’s life after finalizing the divorce process.

When the Loans Were Taken Out Before Marriage

If a student loan was procured before a couple was married, it will not be classified as marital property. Only marital property is divided during divorce. Non-marital property, such as bank accounts, real estate property, and debt, which was acquired before marriage remains the property and responsibility of that individual spouse. This means that if your wife took out $100,000 in law school loans before you were married, that debt will not become your responsibility after divorce.

Student Debt Acquired During Marriage

Everything changes when student loans are acquired during a marriage. However, simply because the debt is considered marital property does not mean that both spouses will be responsible for the debt. Many factors are taken into account when determining how to divide student debt, such as the following questions:

  • Which spouse profited from the education?

  • Did the non-debtor contribute to paying for the education or provide assistance in other ways, such as taking care of children while the debtor went to school?

  • How were the loans used? For example, did they cover housing as well as class fees?

  • What is the earning capacity of each spouse?

The spouse who went to school may end up being responsible for paying for all of their student loan debt after divorce based on how the above questions are answered. Depending on the circumstances and the decisions made during the divorce process, the other spouse may end up being responsible for paying off the debt as well.

A Wheaton Debt Division Attorney Can Help With Your Divorce

Distributing student loan debt during divorce can be exceedingly complicated. To ensure that your best interests are put at the forefront, you need an experienced DuPage County divorce attorney on your side. Call the Andrew Cores Family Law Group today at 630-871-1002 to schedule a free consultation.

Sources:

https://www.debt.org/students/

https://www.credible.com/blog/statistics/average-grad-school-debt-statistics/

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/05/20/how-much-the-average-student-loan-borrower-owes-when-they-graduate.html

 

Is Pet Custody Treated Like Child Custody in an Illinois Divorce?

Wheaton divorce pet custody attorneyNumerous studies have shown that pets have a profoundly beneficial impact on our lives. In fact, the bonds that we create with dogs, cats, and other companion animals can be just as strong as the ones we create with other humans. Pets can even provide a variety of physical and mental health benefits for their owners, including lower blood pressure, reduced stress, lower levels of loneliness, and stronger immune systems for babies. Pets can also provide support for children with disabilities and autism, and they often help create an overall higher degree of happiness.

Because dogs, cats, and other pets quickly become irreplaceable members of our households, it can be difficult for both owners and the pets themselves when a divorce rips them away from us. However, by working with a skilled attorney, you can determine your best options for addressing ownership of your pets during your divorce.

A Pet’s Well-Being Is Taken Into Account During Pet “Custody” Disputes

There is good news for divorcing pet owners: Illinois recently passed a law that requires courts to take into consideration the well-being of pets when making decisions about pet custody, or, more accurately, pet ownership. While pets are still considered to be part of the marital property that should be divided between spouses, in many cases, spouses are able to come to an agreement regarding pet ownership, which can be sole or joint, just like child custody.

If a couple is unable to compromise, a judge’s decision will take into account what is best for the “companion animal.” This can include such factors as the following:

  • The living accommodations for the pet.
  • The work schedule of each party. For example, a spouse that travels constantly may not be able to provide quality care and attention.
  • The presence of children in the household that would enrich the pet’s life.
  • The presence of another non-maritally owned pet living with one of the parties that the pet has created an emotional bond with.
  • The financial ability of each party to care for the pet.
  • Which party has, in the past, demonstrated better caregiving qualities for the pet, such as taking the pet to the vet, grooming, talking the pet on walks, feeding the pet, purchasing food and toys, playing with the pet, etc.

A Wheaton Pet Custody Lawyer Can Help You Win Sole Ownership of Your Beloved Dog, Cat, or Other Pet

There is no way around it. Pets are part of the family, and Illinois law is finally catching up to reflect the importance that dogs, cats, and other animals have on our lives, as well as the impact that good owners have on animals’ lives. The skilled DuPage County divorce attorneys at the Andrew Cores Family Law Group can help you receive ownership of your pet. Give us a call at 630-871-1002 to schedule a free consultation today.

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/publicacts/fulltext.asp?Name=100-0422&GA=100

https://www.webmd.com/hypertension-high-blood-pressure/features/6-ways-pets-improve-your-health#2

The Division of Retirement Accounts in Divorce in Illinois

Marital Property Division LawyerRetirement accounts and pension plans are important issues in Illinois divorce proceedings. In some cases, they are the most valuable asset acquired during a marriage. Even though one spouse may hold the pension, IRA, 401(k), or another retirement fund, this account typically qualifies as marital property.

Marital property is anything acquired during the duration of the marriage, as opposed to non-marital property, which accumulated before the commencement of the union and is not a part of the marital estate. All or part of a retirement account is usually included as marital property and is subject to property division.

Retirement Savings as Marital Assets

Account terminology depends entirely on the type held by the spouse. If the account was an employer-sponsored retirement plan, it likely is a 401(k) or pension plan. Typically, the verbiage used for the division is known as a Qualified Domestic Relations Order, or QDRO (pronounced as “quad row” or “cue drow”). If, however, you or your spouse had an Individual Retirement Account (IRA), a transfer incident to divorce would be the correct terminology.

What is a QDRO?

A Qualified Domestic Relations Order recognizes joint ownership and details the division of the retirement account. A QDRO is required to divide most retirement accounts. QDROs apply to plans that are IRS tax-qualified and covered by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). QDROs are non-applicable to military or government pensions, which are governed by their own set of regulations. In addition to the division of the retirement plan asset, a QDRO may also specify the payment of spousal maintenance and child support to an alternate payee.

Taxes on Retirement Accounts

If a divorcing couple fails to adequately plan for and execute the proper sequence of steps necessary for the division of a retirement plan, they may face high tax assessments to their retirement savings. To avoid wiping out a large part of assets:

  • Do not transfer funds until the finalization of the divorce;
  • Update the beneficiary during the split;
  • Divide the assets into percentages rather than dollar values; and
  • The divorce decree must specifically address the retirement plan’s division.

Ask a Wheaton, IL Divorce Attorney

Whether you are contemplating divorce or are currently in the middle of property division negotiations, it is vital to retain the services of a DuPage County retirement account divorce attorney. The delicate nature of varying retirement plans requires experienced representation to avoid hefty penalties and ensure proper distribution. The attorneys at Andrew Cores Family Law Group understand the importance of the retirement plan and will protect your investment. Call our office today to schedule your free initial consultation at 630-871-1002.

Sources:

https://www.thebalance.com/how-retirement-plan-assets-are-divided-in-a-divorce-1289260