The Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C.


1444 North Farnsworth Avenue, Suite 307, Aurora, IL 60505

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An Illinois Divorce is Often Not Just About Children and Houses

Kendall County, IL Divorce Attorney

Anyone seeking a divorce has a myriad of decisions to make and issues to sort out. In addition to difficult issues of parental rights, child custody and visitation, there is also the issue of property division, which can be a huge sticking point in many divorces.

Property division in Illinois

In Illinois, when a couple divorces, the assets are split equitably, not necessarily equally. All property and assets acquired during the marriage are considered marital assets as opposed to non-marital assets - generally those assets acquired by one spouse prior to the marriage. Marital assets are generally split between the two spouses and non-marital assets are kept separate. There are, of course, exceptions to every rule and the division of certain types of assets are treated differently than others.

Prenuptial agreements can be quite helpful when it comes to divvying up property during a divorce but many couples do not execute such agreements before their marriage or after - referred to as postnuptial agreements. Instead, each asset must be assessed a value and divided and, for some, this is not a straightforward process.

Stock options

Stock options are legal rights to purchase stock at an established price - generally lower than the going rate - and are frequently given to employees. Stock options received by a spouse during the marriage are considered marital assets and, thus, subject to division. However, valuation experts often disagree about how to divide stock options during a divorce because their exact value can be difficult to determine. Valuation depends on when an option vests and when an option is exercised.

Stocks and bonds

Stocks, mutual funds and bonds are more easily divided as they can be sold and the cash proceeds split between the spouses. However, this is often not a good financial decision due to the timing of the sale, the possibility that the assets may rise in value in the future and the tax consequences of selling. The couple may decide to split the stocks without selling or may choose who takes which asset but, then, one's may skyrocket in value while the other's plummets.

An attorney can help

The number and types of assets held by each married couple can vary widely and each asset must be divided according to the laws of the state in which they live. As assets are analyzed, investment styles and long and short-term goals of each spouse should also be taken into account.

If you are considering or seeking a divorce, it is important to consult an experienced family law lawyer. An attorney knowledgeable about divorce procedures and laws may be able to help you equitably divide your marital assets and keep your non-marital assets safe from your soon-to-be ex.

The Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C.


1444 North Farnsworth Avenue, Suite 307, Aurora, IL 60505

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