Tag Archives: marital property division

What if My Spouse Is Hiding Assets During Our Illinois Divorce?

DuPage County divorce lawyer for hidden assetsWhen a couple reaches the point where their marriage is irretrievably broken, they will likely seek a divorce. The process of legally ending a marriage can be complicated, especially if there are a lot of issues to resolve. If spouses are argumentative or bitter, this may only further complicate matters. Part of the divorce proceedings involve dividing any marital property or assets. In some situations, one of the spouses may try to hide monetary funds or other valuable possessions. A study by the National Endowment for Financial Education found that 31 percent of spouses with combined assets report they were deceptive about money, and 58 percent of those people admitted to hiding money from their partner or spouse. In divorce cases involving hidden assets, it is imperative to hire professional legal assistance to uncover such deception.

Division of Marital Assets

In the state of Illinois, marital property and assets are divided using the principle of “equitable distribution.” This means they will be split fairly, but not necessarily completely 50/50. Any assets that were acquired during the matrimonial union may be subject to division. Anything that one of the spouses owned prior to the marriage does not have to be split, unless the other spouse contributed to its value in some way. For example, if one party owned a business before getting married, but his or her spouse helped run it during the marriage, that spouse may be able to receive reimbursement for his or her contributions to any increase in the value of the business.

Separate property is considered anything acquired by a spouse before the marriage. However, a gift or inheritance received during the marriage can also be classified as the personal property of one spouse. A prenuptial agreement or postnuptial agreement may also be used to classify certain assets as separate property. At the time of divorce, any property that is labeled as separate property belongs to the spouse who acquired it.

Types of Assets That Are Often Hidden

Asset division can be a complex process, since it often includes many different types of property, including physical items, financial accounts, and debts. There are some types of property that may be easily hidden. Certain assets may go undetected, especially if only one spouse’s name is on an account, retirement plan, or subscription. Some assets may “fly under the radar;” that is, one spouse may not even be aware of their existence or value. The following are examples of these types of assets:

  • Timeshare properties

  • Frequent-flyer miles

  • Stocks or bonds

  • Health club or country club memberships

  • Income tax refunds

  • Retirement benefits

  • Life insurance policies

  • Season tickets (entertainment, sports)

  • Antiques and collectibles

  • Cash

Hidden assets can involve illegal activities such as fraud, as well as legitimate loopholes.  However, manipulating valid processes and procedures for the purpose of defrauding the court or the other spouse is illegal.

The discovery of hidden assets in a divorce case can change the outcome of the property distribution. In addition to the loss of ownership of assets that were hidden, the guilty party could face a permanent criminal record. Violations can result in criminal charges of fraud, contempt of court, and perjury.

Contact a DuPage County Divorce Attorney

A divorce can be one of the most difficult transitions you will go through in your life, and you deserve your fair share of the property you and your spouse acquired during your marriage. If your spouse is hiding assets from you in order to come out ahead, you should take legal action to ensure that all of your marital assets are divided correctly. At the Andrew Cores Law Group, our attorneys have extensive knowledge of Illinois divorce law, including how to uncover hidden assets. Our Wheaton property division lawyers can help you understand all of your options to make sure you receive a fair settlement. Call our office today at 630-871-1002 to schedule a free consultation.

 

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?ActID=2086&ChapterID=59&SeqStart=6000000&SeqEnd=8300000

 

What Happens to Pets in an Illinois Divorce?

Wheaton divorce attorney for pet custodyFor couples who have decided to get a divorce, one issue that may catch them unprepared is how to deal with the family pet, if they have one. In some cases, a pet may be beloved by both spouses, and neither one can imagine life without it. The law, of course, provides guidelines on how to deal with issues involving children of divorcing parents, and decisions about the allocation of parental responsibility and parenting time are made based on what is in children’s best interests. However, pets are often a different story.

Changes to the Laws on Pet Ownership After Divorce

While divorce has been around for a long time, new and increasingly complex issues often arise in divorce cases. As a result, legislatures must pass new laws to address or respond to these new issues. Illinois is no exception, and one area the legislature has recently addressed is pet ownership after divorce.

In the past, pets were treated as property, and therefore, their ownership was determined in the same manner as all other marital property. However, there is no rational way to split ownership of a pet based on a percentage, neither is it humane to treat a pet the same as a piece of furniture. When factoring in the emotional nature of decisions related to family pets, the need for the legislature to act on these matters becomes evident.

What Judges May Consider When Deciding Pet Ownership

According to the updated law, judges in Illinois divorce cases are now required to consider the well-being of the pet when deciding ownership. However, pets are still legally considered to be property, so the laws regarding the division of marital property will still apply in determining who gets the pet. What the law now brings into the equation is deciding which of the two spouses will give the pet better care—something that was not a factor before.

How About Joint Custody of Pets?

Joint “custody” of a pet is possible under the new Illinois law. If a couple demonstrates that they are both capable of taking care of the pet, and if they can afford to and wish to continue to share the pet, then a judge may decide that joint ownership of the pet is the best option. In these cases, the couple may create a schedule of when the pet will stay in each home, and they may wish to specify how they will divide costs related to the pet, such as vet bills.

Contact a Wheaton Marital Property Division Lawyer

If you have a pet and are determined to keep it after divorcing in Illinois, we are here to give you guidance on how to resolve this and other disputes. Find out how a knowledgeable DuPage County divorce attorney can help you achieve your objectives during your divorce by calling our office today at 630-871-1002 to arrange a free consultation.

Sources:

http://ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/documents/075000050K502.htm

 

How is Marital Property Divided in Illinois After Divorce?

DuPage County divorce lawyersBuilding a life together as a married couple inevitably involves the accumulation of personal assets. The time and effort it took to financially afford and personally choose these items cannot be measured in dollars alone. Facing the prospect of dividing years of memories and hard work these items represent due to divorce requires some ability to look at this situation with objective eyes. Neither should expect to get everything they want.

Part of this evaluation is having a realistic sense of what percentage of marital property each spouse should expect to receive, and Illinois is not a community property state that guarantees each spouse 50 percent of all property. Instead, it follows equitable distribution rules that base property division in divorce on what is most fair under the circumstances, which creates a vague standard that is at the discretion of the judge. As a result, spouses should make all efforts to mutually agree on property division, so the outcome is known, but also having an understanding of how courts view this issue and the process judges use to formulate a settlement is important as well.

Property Division Laws

One of the most important things to understand about property division in an Illinois divorce is that only marital property may be divided. Non-marital property, including inheritances, gifts, and property owned before marriage by one spouse and kept separate, remain with the person who purchased or received these assets. Further, Illinois is a no-fault divorce state, so the misconduct of a spouse during marriage, outside of using marital funds for non-marital purposes, will not factor into a court’s analysis of property division. Instead, the judge will work through a long list of prescribed factors to determine which allocation of assets and liabilities would be most fair. Some of these factors include:

  • The contribution of each spouse to the acquisition, accumulation or increase and decrease in value of marital property, including spouses who stayed at home and took care of the household;
  • Dissipation or waste of marital property by either spouse;
  • The property’s value;
  • The length of the marriage;
  • The economic circumstances for each party as a result of the property division;
  • The ability of each spouse to generate income;
  • The parenting responsibilities of each spouse; and
  • The tax consequences of the property division.

Facilitating a Better Property Settlement

As mentioned, the best way to handle this issue is to decide how to divide assets and liabilities privately, but even if a court is asked to settle the distribution, there are things a person can do to put them in a better position. First, organize finances before the divorce even begins, which will allow a spouse to know what they have. In addition, figure out a budget that takes into account the cost of litigating this issue, as well as the amount of resources one will need after the divorce to survive financially. Finally, make sure the tax consequences of any property settlement, as well as support obligations, are fully understood for post-divorce purposes so that a spouse does not end up financially underwater due to lack of planning.

Speak to a Wheaton, IL Divorce Attorney

Dividing your property is both an emotional and financial experience that is hard to navigate alone. Save your stress by working with an experienced divorce attorney. The skilled DuPage County family law attorneys at the Andrew Cores Family Law Group know the implications and obstacles of forming a property settlement and can provide the guidance you need to get the best possible result. Contact us at 630-871-1008 for a free consultation.

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/documents/075000050k503.htm