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Wheaton property division lawyer for asset dissipationAccording to Illinois law, dissipation of marital assets is defined as the use of marital property or assets to solely benefit one spouse for a purpose unrelated to the marriage when the marriage is in the midst of an irreconcilable breakdown. As a marriage undergoes difficult times—and as divorce becomes more and more likely—one or both of the spouses might begin deviating from their usual spending patterns. They might spend marital funds irresponsibly, neglect to pay bills, or enter into major financial agreements, among other things, all without the other spouse’s consent. This could affect the fair and equitable division of marital property during the couple’s divorce.

Common Examples of Marital Asset Dissipation

In order to safeguard yourself against possible marital asset dissipation, it is important to know all the different ways your spouse might be dissipating assets so that you can more readily spot them when you suspect impropriety. There are many ways a spouse could improperly dissipate marital assets, including:

  • Gambling

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DuPage County property division attorney for hidden assetsSometimes, by the time people get divorced, they do not even recognize each other anymore. Over the years, a sense of mistrust might have festered. Misgivings about your spouse and his or her motivations often contribute to the decision to file for divorce. As the divorce drives you two even further apart, it becomes easier and easier to keep things from each other. This is when hidden assets become an even greater possibility. If you suspect your spouse might be hiding assets from you and your attorneys, what should you do? There are a few things that require further investigation from you and your lawyers to make sure no asset is left buried.

What to Do During the Hunt for Hidden Assets

Financial fraud during divorce is much easier to commit than it is to expose. There is quite a bit of detective work that goes into finding those hidden assets, bringing them to light, and enabling them to be divided along with other marital property during a divorce. Here are some ways you and your lawyer might be able to hunt for hidden assets:

  • Take an Inventory—Collect all of the financial documentation for both you and your spouse. Be very thorough and organized in your collection of this paperwork. You need to have a strong baseline to judge your financial picture against that of your spouse. If you notice specific inconsistencies, then you know where to look first for possible hidden assets.

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Wheaton, IL divorce attorney for professional practice division

When going through a divorce, a couple will need to divide up their property. According to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA), marital property is divided using “equitable distribution.” This means any property or assets acquired during the marriage must be divided fairly, but not necessarily equally. If one spouse is a doctor, dentist, lawyer, psychologist, accountant, or any professional who owns his or her own practice or business, this can complicate matters. Like any piece of the marital estate, several factors will be considered to determine how to divide a professional practice or business during the divorce proceedings. It is important to seek legal counsel so you know your rights when it comes to splitting this valuable asset.

Factors the Court Will Consider

A professional practice or business is subject to division in a divorce unless there is a valid prenuptial or postnuptial agreement that specifies how ownership of this asset will be handled. In many cases, the court will consider which spouse has contributed the most to the practice and allow that spouse to keep ownership of the practice, while the other spouse will receive marital assets that are of a similar value.

If one spouse opened his or her practice or business during the marriage, it is classified as marital property. On the other hand, if it was started prior to the union, it may still be considered part of the marital estate if the other spouse made significant contributions to establish the practice or keep it running. These contributions may include using marital money to finance the business or working at the practice as an employee.

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Wheaton, IL divorce lawyer for asset divisionWhile some people who get married may be doubtful that the marriage will last, the expectation for nearly all couples who marry is that their marriage will last a lifetime.

However, the reality of marriage in America is that more than 22 percent of first marriages end in divorce within five years, and 53 percent of marriages dissolve by the 20-year mark, according to the latest available data from the government. No matter the length of a marriage, one common issue that often arises during divorce is how to handle the division of marital property.

What Constitutes Marital Property?

The first question to determine when addressing property division is what is considered marital property as defined under Illinois law. The law defines marital property as “all property acquired by either spouse subsequent to the marriage.” Examples of common marital property include physical possessions such as homes, automobiles, and other assets of value. Marital property also includes monetary assets such as retirement accounts like 401(k)s or IRAs, pensions, stocks and bonds, and life insurance benefits.

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social media, DuPage County divorce attorneysThe internet has revolutionized the way we communicate with each other. Social media has allowed us to send and receive information about each other in the blink of an eye. Nearly 70 percent of Americans have at least a Facebook account. Although websites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram can be wonderful tools to stay in touch with friends and family, they can also become a significant responsibility during tumultuous times such as a divorce. If you are considering ending your marriage, you should know that social media activity can come up during a divorce. It is critical for anyone getting divorced to be intentional about what they post online.

Social Media Mistake #1: Oversharing Personal Information

For many married individuals, separating from their spouse leaves them feeling alone and empty. In order to vent their frustrations or express their grief about the marriage, they take to social media. This is a major mistake. Unfortunately, careless comments made by people getting divorced can and have come back to haunt them.  In one such case, a wife’s Facebook activity was used as evidence during a formal custody case. The couple shared custody of a 4-year-old child together. The husband alleged that the wife took frequent vacations without their child while she had custody of him. The court ordered the wife to show her Facebook profile. It contained many pictures proving that she frequently spent time away from her child during her allotted parenting time.

Social Media Mistake #2: Letting Your Emotions Get the Better of You

Going through a divorce can be incredibly taxing emotionally and psychologically. However, serious problems can arise when spouses getting divorced express those emotions online. Another example of a divorce case that was affected by Facebook is one in which a woman complained online, “My children have a really, really bad father.” The court considered this and other statements evidence that she would not support her children’s relationship with their father. The court awarded the father more parental responsibility as a result.

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