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Wheaton division of debt lawyerIllinois couples who are considering a separation or divorce should also begin the process of evaluating their debts. When couples elect to divorce in Illinois, the partners are required to divide both their debts and assets. If the matter of debt and asset distribution is left up to the court, the state’s equitable distribution guidelines will be utilized. In most cases, these rules are not conducive to the wide variety of financial situations couples may be contending with. Also, it is important to understand that the state’s equitable distribution guidelines do not mean that all debts and assets will be divided equally. Instead, they will be divided in a manner that the court deems to be fair and just based on the circumstances.

Prenuptial Agreements Often Fail to Address Marital Debt

In many cases, even if the couple had executed a prenuptial agreement that outlines the distribution of separate and marital assets, the issue of debt accumulated during the marriage is not included in the agreement. Many couples find that the best solution to amicably resolve the issue of debt accumulated during marriage is to work together to pay it off before beginning the divorce process. If this is not possible, each partner must be proactive about making sure that they do not take on more than their fair share of the total debt load.  

Consumer Debt From the Marriage

Consumer debt such as credit cards can become a particularly contentious issue in a divorce. It is important to understand that, with regard to joint accounts, the credit card company is under no obligation to recognize your divorce agreement. This means that no matter how you and your partner divide the debt, both of you may still be liable if the other defaults on their payments, just as if you were still married.

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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.

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