Tag Archives: mediation

What Is Equitable Division of Property in an Illinois Divorce?

Wheaton, IL property division lawyerAs discussed in a previous blog, the division of property in a divorce is a complex and nuanced issue in Illinois. This is because, as with many states, property is not simply divided equally; by law, it must be divided “equitably.” In general, equitable distribution of assets is not a strict and simple process. Typically, the decisions are subjective depending on what the parties or the judge find to be fairest depending on the circumstances. The determination of what is “equitable” is based on a variety of factors.

What Is Considered “Equitable” in Illinois

As mentioned in the last post, only marital property can be divided in a divorce; that is, only property or other assets purchased or obtained during the marriage will be divided. As such, the equitable distribution of property refers only to marital property.

While there might be that rare occasion when what is considered “equitable” in a divorce case just so happens to also be “equal,” more often than not, equitable division of assets is much more complicated and multifaceted. Overall, when determining what is equitable, divorcing spouses, their lawyers, and the judges in their cases may consider any or all of the following:

  • The amount of financial or other contributions each spouse made to the property or assets during the marriage

  • The employment of each spouse, including vocational training and future opportunities for upward mobility

  • The financial obligations of each spouse, including alimony and spousal support

  • The duration of the marriage

  • Either spouse’s use of joint income for purposes unrelated to the marriage

  • Each spouse’s ability to attain more of the same assets in the future

  • The physical health of each spouse

  • Any prenuptial or postnuptial agreements

  • The future financial needs of each spouse

Distributing the Assets Equitably

Once the aforementioned factors are taken into consideration in the division of property during a divorce, the respective parties or the judge in their case must decide how the assets and property will be equitably divided. This may involve something as straightforward as dividing the assets according to specific percentages, or it could be more intricate and long term, requiring future installment payments over time from one spouse to the other.

Contact a Wheaton Divorce Attorney

There are many factors to consider when making a determination about what is equitable when dividing property during your divorce. Due to this, it is important that you have a well-informed DuPage County asset division lawyer on your side through the entire divorce process. If you want to ensure that your property will be equitably divided in a way that protects your financial security, contact us at 630-871-1002 for a complimentary consultation.





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.





What Should Spouses Over the Age of 50 Expect During Divorce?

DuPage County grey divorce lawyerWhile getting a divorce at any age can be one of the most challenging life changes you will ever face, when you decide to get a divorce at age 50 or older, the situation can be even more complicated and difficult. How will your older sons and daughters react? What will happen with your retirement accounts? What about health insurance? How will you be able to start over at such an older age? There are many issues to consider, and that is the main reason finding an experienced divorce attorney is critical to your success.

Distinct Differences When Divorcing After 50

While many of the usual issues considered during divorce are also relevant to a divorce late in life, there are some actions that need to be approached differently or with extra caution when you are 50 or older. Major differences to take into account when divorcing after 50 include:

  • Development of an Asset Inventory: In many cases, only one spouse will have a comprehensive understanding of the marital assets possessed by a married couple. For the fairest results during a divorce, both sides must have an in-depth knowledge of their assets. After all, by 50, you and your spouse have probably been accumulating property for many years. This includes life insurance policies, retirement accounts, and the house.

  • Understanding of the Retirement Accounts: As you approach retirement age, you are going to want to have all your finances sorted out in such a way that your golden years remain golden. While you will not have the retirement you planned with your spouse, and you might not get everything you were expecting during retirement after the divorce, there are ways to fairly divide the assets in retirement accounts. When dividing these assets, a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) should be used to avoid any penalties or taxes that would come with withdrawal of funds before reaching retirement age.

  • Ensuring Health Insurance Coverage: At your age, having good health is particularly important, so you will need to make sure you have coverage. If you are not yet qualified for Medicare, your options may be limited to using COBRA to stay on your spouse’s insurance until you find other solutions, insurance through your current employer (if you have one), or insurance through the Healthcare Marketplace. If you would prefer to stay on your spouse’s insurance indefinitely, a legal separation might be a preferable option instead of divorce.

  • Attainment or Maintenance of a Life Insurance Policy: You and your spouse are both not getting any younger. It is just as important—if not more important—to get life insurance policies figured out upon divorce as it is while married, especially if one spouse will be paying spousal maintenance or child support. While term life insurance is not taken into account during divorce, permanent life insurance is counted as a marital asset and must be dealt with as such. In particular, if you or your spouse do not already have a permanent life insurance policy, you or your spouse might want to ask for one in divorce to protect the rights to alimony, child support, and retirement/pension benefits if a spouse dies. If either spouse already has a permanent life insurance policy with the other spouse as the beneficiary, you are free to change the beneficiary of the policy, unless ordered otherwise by the judge in your case.

  • Deciding What to Do With the House: If you are not an empty-nester yet, you may want to continue living in your marital home after your divorce. However, you will need to be prepared for the day when your children leave the home. If you have no children at home, you may want to consider what you will end up doing with the house. Upkeep at your age can be both taxing and expensive, and if your house is not paid off, you may struggle with mortgage payments, property taxes, and other expenses.

  • Be Prepared for the Job Market If Necessary: As you approach retirement, getting a job can become much more difficult. If being divorced will put you in a financial position that will require you to get back onto the job market, do not be surprised to hear that you are “overqualified” or other rejections that might be related to your age. Conversely, if you feel at a disadvantage due to your lack of training or education, you may want to ask for your spouse to contribute toward your professional development. If your spouse agrees to spousal support that will help pay for your tuition at a local school, for instance, then you will be able to receive the necessary training to start a new job. This will make it much easier for you to manage the finances for yourself without your spouse.

Contact a Wheaton Grey Divorce Attorney

As you can see, there are many unique challenges facing people who wish to get divorced after the age of 50; however, you do not have to face this difficult decision on your own. Our DuPage County divorce lawyers can help you every step of the way, no matter how complicated your divorce gets due to the late stage in your life. For a free consultation, reach out to us at 630-871-1002.