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

630-409-8184

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

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b2ap3_thumbnail_Aurora-divorce-lawyer.jpg-min.jpgGetting a divorce involves dividing up almost everything you and your spouse own together, and the family home is no exception. For many couples, dealing with the family home is a point of contention, because it is often one of the most valuable marital assets to be divided. When you and your ex-spouse must figure out what to do with your home, there are typically three solutions that you could pursue: sell the home and split the profits, continue co-owning the home together, or have one spouse keep the home. There are many situations in which one spouse will want to continue living in the family home, especially if there are children involved. If you have come to the conclusion that you want to keep your home, you must then figure out how that can be accomplished. The following are a few steps you should take if you want to keep your house after your divorce in Illinois:

Figure Out What the Home Is Worth

Before you decide on anything, you have to figure out the value of your home and how much you will need to perform a buyout. First, you and your spouse should come up with a figure that you both can agree on as far as how much the house is worth. If you and your spouse cannot agree on a figure, you should hire a property appraiser to determine the home’s value.

Next, you will have to determine each spouse’s share of equity in the home. To do this, you would take the home’s value and subtract how much is still owed on the home. The resulting figure is the amount of equity you have in the home. Then, you will have to decide how much of that equity each spouse owns. In Illinois, property is divided in an equitable manner, meaning you do not necessarily each has a 50/50 share in the equity of the home, but your share should be fair.

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DuPage County division of assets lawyerMany people who get a divorce state that finances were the reason or at least played some part in the breakdown of the marriage. For those couples--and many other couples--the stress of money does not stop there. Many divorces are also quite contentious and filled with anxiety over the couple’s financial issues. Most couples have their assets intermingled in some way, and when they get divorced, they have to figure out how to separate them. Below are a few common financial issues that divorcing couples face and how best to deal with them.

Assessing Your Assets

Not all assets were created equally. Before you begin to do anything involving your finances, you need to understand them. Make a list of every asset you have. These can include:

  • Cash

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DuPage County property division attorneyDuring the asset division phase of your divorce, you and your spouse will decide which marital assets you each get to keep. What you may not realize is that you will also have to figure out who will be responsible for your debts. Any debt that you and your spouse jointly incurred during your marriage is considered marital debt. This means both you and your spouse will be responsible for repaying that debt after you are divorced. When it comes to dividing what you owe, things can become contentious, since debt is one of the few things in your divorce that you will not be fighting to keep.

Try to Be Debt Free Before You File

Creditors do not care what a divorce decree says. All they care about is being reimbursed. Even if your spouse was ordered to pay back a certain debt, if your name is on that account, and your spouse does not pay, you could be held responsible. The easiest way to prevent any issues arising from your debt is by not having any debt when you file for divorce. This is not a possibility for some, though you should still try to wipe out as much marital debt as possible before you file for divorce.

Secured and Unsecured Debts

The way you handle a particular debt depends on the type of debt it is. A secured debt is any debt that is secured by an asset, such as a house or a car. Since you do not fully own the house or car until the debt is paid off, the lender can take the asset from you if you become delinquent on the loan. Unsecured debt such as credit card debt is not secured by any assets, meaning the lender does not have the right to collateral for the debt.

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DuPage County gray divorce attorneyDivorce statistics are often misconstrued, and it can be difficult to determine what the true divorce rate is in the United States. One of the figures that most statisticians can settle on, however, is that the general divorce rate is declining, while the rate of divorce for those who are over the age of 50 is rising--and has been for the past couple of decades. A “gray divorce” is a term that is used when two people who are over the age of 50 decide to divorce. At that point in their lives, they have typically been married for decades, and they may have many more issues that need to be addressed, especially when it comes to finances. If you are thinking about getting a divorce, and you are over the age of 50, you should be aware of some of the differences that you may face compared to your younger counterparts.

Stakes Are Higher During Asset Division

When going through the process of dividing your marital assets, earning potential is something that becomes important. For couples who are in their 20s, 30s, or 40s, they still have plenty of earning potential. Couples who are divorcing in their 50s or later are close to retirement, if they have not already retired, meaning their income will be fixed, and their assets will not grow anymore. This makes the stakes higher when it comes to figuring out who gets what in the divorce.

Retirement Funds Become Extremely Important

Another thing that becomes a priority is figuring out how your retirement funds are distributed when you divorce after 50. If you are not yet retired, you will be soon, and you will need as much money as possible to live comfortably during retirement. If you are already retired, you will have to figure out how much of each spouse's retirement funds are left and how much you and your spouse are eligible to receive. You also have to keep in mind any tax considerations when making withdrawals from retirement accounts.

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DuPage County divorce lawyer for financial issuesDivorces are difficult for some families, especially when it concerns financial matters. Splitting your marital finances during your divorce can be challenging, but it can also be disastrous for a couple. With two separate households comes increased financial obligations. Some people may be prepared for the increase, while others may struggle. While divorce in itself will not lower your credit score directly, certain actions and events that take place during the divorce can affect the score in negative ways. The following are a few situations that could potentially impact your credit score when going through a divorce:

You Have to Refinance Your Home

One of the biggest assets you may have to deal with in your divorce is the family home. If one spouse is planning on keeping the marital home, it is best to make sure the home is in that person’s name only. To do this, you may have to refinance your mortgage. Refinancing means you will have to go through a comprehensive credit inquiry, which can affect your credit score.

Your Spouse Still Has Access to Your Accounts

When you are married, most of your financial accounts are probably joint accounts, meaning you and your spouse both have ownership over them. When you get divorced, the process of splitting those accounts and/or taking your spouse’s name off of them can take a while. If your spouse still has access to accounts such as your credit card account, he or she can rack up charges, which can affect your credit score in a negative way.

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Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer,Getting a divorce turns your entire life upside down. The asset division process can prove to be especially cumbersome for some couples, as it requires you to take every single asset and debt into consideration when making decisions. Most couples argue over the house, bank accounts, and vehicles. While these high-value assets are important, it is also important not to overlook one of your most important assets -- retirement funds. It is easy to forget about retirement when it is 15 or 20 years away, but planning for it now can save you a big headache in the future. When it comes to retirement plans, one of the most important tools in your toolbox is a QDRO, which is a commonly used acronym for a qualified domestic relations order. QDRO's can be extremely beneficial when divvying up retirement plans during a divorce and can take some of the uncertainty out of your future. What Is a QDRO? In the state of Illinois, all pension benefits, including individual retirement accounts (IRA’s) and defined contribution plans and accounts, are presumed to be marital property and must be divided in “just proportions.” This is where a QDRO comes in. A QDRO is a legal document that designates an alternate payee’s right to receive all or a portion of the benefits held in certain types of retirement accounts. What Is Included in a QDRO?

QDRO’s are just as legally enforceable as an order for alimony or child support and must be approved by the court. Basically, a QDRO will allow both payees to draw from the retirement plan when the time comes. Most of the time, the named payees will be both spouses, but in certain situations, the alternate payee can be a child or another dependant. For a QDRO to be valid, it must contain:

  • The plan owner’s name and mailing address;
  • The alternate payee’s name and mailing address;
  • The percentage of the plan that will be going to the alternate payee;
  • How that percentage will be determined;
  • The number of payments included in the order; and
  • How those payments will be made to each payee.
Consult with a DuPage County Asset Division Attorney Today

If you are getting a divorce, it is important that you keep all of your assets in consideration -- including your retirement plan. By hiring a knowledgeable Aurora, IL asset division lawyer, you can be sure that you are getting your fair share of the retirement plan. Contact the Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C. today to discuss your case and determine your best course of action. Call our office at 630-409-8184 to set up a consultation.

 

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Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer, Illinois child support lawyer,There were an estimated 27.9 small businesses in the United States in 2010. Owning a business can be a very rewarding and fulfilling experience, but it can also be scary if you get a divorce. Typically in Illinois divorces, the two spouses must split their assets according to Illinois’ equitable division guidelines. This does not necessarily mean that each spouse will get half of the marital assets, but it does mean that the judge will determine what is equitable. The only things that are subject to division are those that are considered marital property. Your business may or may not be considered marital property and figuring that out is your first step in protecting your business from your spouse. Here are a few ways you can protect your business and keep it in your control during your divorce:

Get Your Business Valued

One of the first things you will want to do is to find out how much your business is worth. This can be accomplished by using a court-appointed valuation expert who is required to be unbiased when coming up with a value to assign to your business. It is still a good idea to hire an outside valuation specialist to make sure your result is in line with the court’s result.

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Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer,Everyone knows that divorces are expensive, but they cost a whole lot more than just money -- they also cost you precious time, energy and emotional stress. Money is one of the biggest stressors in both marriage and divorce, which is why divorces can be so tense and combative. There are many complicated decisions you must make during a divorce and a good amount of them revolve around your finances. The decisions that you make about your finances when you get divorced are decisions that will affect you for a good portion of your life. Try to avoid making these four common financial mistakes during your divorce:

Not Having All of You and Your Spouse’s Financial Documents on Hand

Preparation is key when it comes to divorce. You will want to make sure that you have all of you and your spouse’s financial documents before you begin to negotiate who gets what. Make sure you have bank statements, credit card statements, mortgage and loan information and any other relevant financial documents on hand. If you think that your spouse is hiding assets from you, let your lawyer know. They will be able to help you uncover any hidden assets.

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Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer,When you are married for a long period of time -- even if it is just for a few years -- you are bound to have many shared assets that you have accumulated over time. Dividing your assets during a divorce can be messy and complicated, especially if both of you want the same things. Illinois courts prefer for couples to try to divide up their assets on their own before the responsibility goes to a judge, but sometimes a judge is very much needed to settle disputes. When they say everything must be split up, they mean everything -- even unusual assets that you may not think about much.

Marital vs. Non-Marital Property

Before you can divide anything in your marriage, you must first determine what property must be divided. In Illinois, only marital property is subject to division. Non-marital property remains with the spouse whose property it is. Marital property is any property, including debts and other types of obligations, that either spouse acquires during the marriage. The exception to that rule is non-marital property, which includes:

  • Property acquired by gift, descent or legacy;
  • Property acquired in exchange for property acquired before the marriage;
  • Property acquired by a spouse after a legal judgment of separation; and
  • Property excluded by a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement.

Physical Property

Property that is a real object and can be touched is physical property, which is probably what you think of when you think of property division. Physical property that is subject to division can include:

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Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer, Illinois child custody lawyer,Although it may have never crossed your mind, prenuptial agreements can be beneficial for many people - not just those who are wealthy. Prenuptial agreements are legal contracts that couples sign before they are married that can hash out the details of things like property division or spousal support in the event that the couple was to ever get divorced. Each state has its own laws pertaining to prenuptial agreements and agreements in Illinois are subject to the Illinois Uniform Premarital Agreement Act. The Act dictates everything from how prenuptial agreements must be constructed, to what can and cannot be included in prenuptial agreements. As with most things in the legal world, prenuptial agreements can become tricky, but here are four things that you should know before committing to a prenuptial agreement. Anyone Can Benefit from a Prenuptial Agreement Many people’s knowledge about prenuptial agreements comes from what they have seen on television and in movies. You do not have to be extremely rich or have tons of valuable assets to get a prenuptial agreement. Any couple can benefit from getting a prenuptial agreement, especially when one or both spouses have been married before, one or both spouses have children from other people, either one of you owns a business or there is an income disparity between the two of you. You and Your Soon-to-Be Spouse Both Need to Hire Lawyers While it would be easier to just hire one attorney who could draft the agreement for you, both of you should get your own lawyers to help you look over the agreement and foresee any future problems with it if it were to be used. A single attorney cannot be an advocate for both of you and if you both do not have separate legal counsel, your agreement may not hold up in court. Full Disclosure Is Required You are required to be completely truthful about any current assets that you have or any future assets, such as inheritance or inherited property you may get. Full disclosure is required going into an agreement, that way both spouses know what they are getting into. It Can Get Awkward Between You and Your Significant Other Bringing up the idea of a prenuptial agreement can be awkward for both you and your soon-to-be spouse. Prenuptial agreements tend to still carry a negative stigma because they are planning what will happen if you two get a divorce. Really, you should not stress about the conversation with your significant other. If you two truly love each other, the conversation will be welcomed with open arms. Contact a DuPage County Prenuptial Agreement Lawyer

Though people rarely talk about prenuptial agreements, they should not be considered taboo. In the unlikely event that you and your significant other get a divorce, prenuptial agreements can save you a lot of time and money about certain decisions, making the process easier. If you are looking to get a prenuptial agreement before you are married, you should contact a skilled Aurora, IL prenuptial agreement attorney. The Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C. can help you draft an agreement that benefits both you and your spouse. To schedule a consultation, call the office at 630-409-8184.

 

Sources:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/christinefletcher/2018/09/18/10-things-you-need-to-know-about-prenups/#6229d8ce62ba

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Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer, Illinois child custody lawyer,It is extremely important to understand your financial situation, especially if you are getting a divorce. It is not uncommon for people to try to keep certain assets from their spouses when it comes to dividing them during a divorce. Unfortunately, nearly 15 million Americans reported that they have at least one bank account or credit card account that their live-in partner does not know about. Though you may think it is difficult to figure out if your spouse is hiding assets from you, it can become obvious if you know what you are looking for. Here are five signs that your spouse may be hiding something:

You Notice an Increase in Transactions on Your Bank Statements

You should know your spouse’s spending habits better than anyone. If you notice unusual transactions or purchases, it could be a sign that he or she is trying to cover their trail. An increase in large purchases, such as cars, artwork or jewelry could be a sign that your spouse is trying to convert their cash to physical assets. Unusual ATM transactions could be a sign that your spouse is moving money from a joint account to a secret account.

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Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer, Illinois child support lawyer,When you are getting a divorce, you must come to an agreement with your spouse about how your assets will be divided. If you cannot come to an agreement, you will have to go to court and the judge will decide what is fair. Either way, dividing your assets can be a big headache, especially if you have large assets such as a house, cars, retirement or pension plans, stocks, brokerage accounts or businesses. It can be difficult to determine what is fair when it comes to distribution of your assets, but when it comes to Illinois law, there are certain criteria that judges use to make these decisions. Determining Marital Property vs. Non-Marital Property

The first thing a judge will do in a division of assets proceeding is determine which property and assets are marital property and which are not subject to division. The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act outlines the types of assets and property that are considered marital and non-marital property. According to the act, marital property is any property, including debts and other obligations, acquired by either spouse during the marriage, except:

  • Property acquired by gift, legacy or descent and any property acquired in exchange for this property;
  • Property acquired in exchange for property acquired prior to the marriage;
  • Property acquired by a spouse after a legal separation; and
  • Property excluded by a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement.
Equitable Distribution of Marital Property

When a judge is left to decide which spouse gets which property, they must consider certain factors that are outlined in the act. These factors include:

  • Each spouse’s contribution to the acquisition or increase or decrease in value of the property;
  • The contribution of a spouse as a homemaker to the family;
  • The dissipation of the marital property by each spouse;
  • The value of the property;
  • The duration of the marriage;
  • Relevant economic factors of each spouse;
  • Any obligations from a prior marriage;
  • Any prenuptial or postnuptial agreements;
  • The age, health, occupation, income, skills, employability, liabilities and needs of each spouse;
  • The custodial provisions for any children;
  • The prevalence of any spousal maintenance;
  • The opportunity of each spouse for future assets or income; and
  • The tax consequences of the division of property.
The act also specifies that property and assets are divided without regard to any marital misconduct. Contact a DuPage County Divorce Attorney

If you are going through a divorce, you probably know about the stress and difficulty that comes with dividing your assets. Though dividing your marital assets can be troublesome, it does not have to be--with the help of an Aurora divorce attorney, your assets can be divided equitably and in your favor. Contact the Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C. to begin discussing your case. Call 630-409-8184 to schedule a consultation.

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Posted on in Divorce

Illinois custody attorney, Illinois family law attorney, Illinois divorce lawyer,For some people, the divorce experience is fraught with stress, uncertainty, dread and other feelings of ill will. It did not start out that way, but once reality sets in and attorneys begin discussing the matters of custody, asset division and other financial issues it is not uncommon for bad feelings to surface.

Handling the Worst a Divorce Has to Offer

Fears of being “taken to the cleaners” can cause a person to lose sleep, become bitter and even react overly aggressive in a situation when calm behavior might be best. When you dread getting out of bed because you have to go meet your ex-spouse and their attorney it can have a negative effect on others areas of your life. Perhaps consider this routine to get a grip of your concerns and create a plan to control your emotions.
  • Step 1: Write down the worst outcome(s) of the divorce you can imagine. Many fear being left broke and in debt, stuck in what seems like a never-ending divorce, and without a meaningful relationship with their children.
  • Step 2: Write down what you would do in the event these events actually occur. How can you overcome being in debt? What can you do to ensure a lasting relationship with your children? How can you help move the divorce process along to a speedy and amicable conclusion?
  • Step 3: Write down a list of the people on whom you can rely for help and support. If your worst fears involve money, write down the name of someone who can help you manage your finances. If you think the divorce will leave you without a place to live, write down the name of a realtor you know. The idea is to remind yourself that no one has to go through this all by themselves.

Completing the steps can have one of two desirable effects. One would be that you might realize that many of these worst-case scenario fears are unfounded. The second would that, in the event one of these scenarios comes true, you have a plan and friend to help you overcome it.

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Illinois custody attorney, Illinois family law attorney, Illinois divorce lawyer,When a couple is preparing for or going through a contentious divorce it happens that one spouse may attempt to hide assets, run up debt or sell off property in an effort to cheat the other from what might otherwise be a fair split of marital assets. You can prevent this “win at all costs” strategy by taking steps to protect marital assets.

Establish a Plan Before a Divorce Occurs

There are steps you can take, although one must proceed with caution while doing so, to protect marital assets from dissipation:

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Posted on in Division of Property

Illinois custody attorney, Illinois family law attorney, Illinois divorce lawyer,When a marriage results in divorce, the end is usually not as simple as each spouse picking up and heading off in separate directions. Before a divorce decree is issued, the parties must go through the identification, valuation, and subsequent allocation of all marital property.

The Asset Division Process

In Illinois, when a divorce enters the asset division and allocation process, the law calls for an “equitable” distribution of assets, meaning “fair,” and not “even” or even 50-50. This includes:

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Posted on in Divorce

Intellectual Property and Divorce, divorce, intellectual property, marital property, asset division, DuPage County Divorce LawyersFor entrepreneurial and inventive spouses considerations for divorce do not conclude with decisions regarding income to be calculated for child support or who inherits a spouse’s business debt. An often neglected, but uniformly important consideration is the topic of intellectual property

How is Intellectual Property Treated in Divorce

Intellectual Property is also called IP for short. It refers to the litany of legal rights that attach to an expressed idea. Put another way intellectual property is the legal defense of your mental work. Intellectual property can include copyrights, trademarks, or trade secrets.

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property, DuPage County divorce attorneyWhen a couple gets divorced, one of the most contentious aspects of the process involves the identification and division of marital property. For many couples, the marital estate is a physical representation of their life together, making it very difficult for the parties to reach a reasonable resolution.

If you and your spouse cannot come to an agreement regarding your property, the issue will be left to the court to decide. Such a situation leads many to assume that the court will simply divide the marital estate into equal halves, and allocate 50 percent of the marital property to one spouse and 50 percent to the other. According to Illinois law, however, this is not exactly the case.

Equitable Distribution

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marital property, DuPage County divorce attorneyDuring a divorce, questions often abound regarding which of the spouses’ assets will be considered marital property and, therefore, subject to division. As with most aspects of divorce, the law itself is relatively straightforward but its real-world application is often very complex. If you are considering a divorce, you should know what the law says and how it applies to your particular case.

Legal Definitions

The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) contains virtually all of the statutory provisions that govern the process of divorce in the state. The IMDMA specifies that, for the purposes of a divorce, marital property refers to “all property, including debts and other obligation, acquired by either spouse subsequent to the marriage,” with certain exceptions. These exceptions include:

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marital home, DuPage County divorce attorneyWhen most people get married, they do so with the intention of sharing a life together. This usually means joint ownership of all assets and property, as well as shared responsibilities for incurred debts. During a divorce, as most people understand, the property that constitutes the marital estate must be divided equitably between the spouses. In some cases, though, determining whether a particular asset is part of the marital estate can be a little more challenging than in others. High-value assets like your marital home can be especially confusing if it was titled in the name of only one spouse. Is such a home considered marital property?

The Name on the Title

Determining if your home is marital property depends on several, fairly straightforward factors. Surprisingly to some, the name on the title means almost nothing in most cases. You and your spouse could have agreed to put just one name on the mortgage or title to obtain financial advantages. Such practices are fine and understandable, but have little bearing on the home’s status as marital or non-marital property.

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higher-earning spouse, Aurora divorce attorneyIn today’s society, nearly two-thirds of American married couples rely on the income of both parties. While not entirely gone, the idea of a single wage earner—primarily the husband in previous generations—providing for the entire family’s needs is quickly becoming a thing of the past. Whatever the reasons may be, such as failed economic policies, rising inflation, and other concerns, the change in the way a couple earns income has also led to a corresponding change in the approach to dividing property in divorce, if and when the time comes.

Income Disparity

Depending on the situation, it is very likely that the income of each spouse in a two-income marriage will be somewhat, if not drastically different. This is especially true if the couple has children, as one spouse may work a lower-paying job or reduced hours so as to be more available for the children’s needs. The end result is often one spouse making significantly more money than the other, contributing more directly to the family’s wealth and property.

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

630-409-8184

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

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