Tag Archives: marital property division

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

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