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

630-409-8184

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

Yorkville Office By Appointment

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Geneva marital property division attorney

Divorce is not a simple process, even if you and your spouse are on good terms with one another. There are many issues you have to think about, from dividing assets to allocating parenting time to ensuring you receive the right amount of child support. When it comes to splitting up your marital assets, both spouses are required to give full disclosure about their assets and debts. However, there are several important issues that are often overlooked or forgotten when it comes to dividing marital property. 

Marital Property Division

When it comes time to create a list of your assets and debts, you probably have a good idea of what should be included. Assets include things such as bank accounts, real estate, vehicles, and other items of value. Debts include money that is owed on mortgages, auto loans, school loans, or credit cards. However, many people often overlook assets that are not as prominent as others.

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DuPage County asset and property division attorney

Engagement rings are common in today’s society for couples who plan to get married, but they have not always been. The first engagement ring was given in the 1400s, but they did not become popular in the United States until the 1940s when the De Beers Company launched the famous “Diamonds are forever,” campaign. Now, many couples see purchasing an engagement ring as an investment, with the average cost of an engagement ring in the United States being somewhere around $6,324, according to Business Insider. In the state of Illinois, the average cost of an engagement ring is a little higher at $7,110. Along with the wedding band, these can be highly sought items when the property is divided in an Illinois divorce.

Marital and Non-Marital Property

When it comes to property division, Illinois recognizes that there is a difference between marital and non-marital property. Only marital property is subject to division in a divorce. According to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA), all property that is acquired by each spouse during the marriage is considered to be marital property. However, there are exceptions to that rule. For example, property that is obtained by either spouse through “gift, legacy, or descent” or property acquired in exchange for such property is considered to be non-marital property and therefore not subject to division.

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DuPage County high-asset divorce attorneyAll divorces have the potential to be complex, but when a couple has a high net worth, the proceedings tend to be even more complicated than normal. For couples who have an abundance of property or assets that are worth a lot of money, the divorce process will involve more decisions. Issues such as property division, spousal maintenance, and child support may be handled differently. People who have a high net worth can greatly benefit from a skilled divorce attorney who has experience dealing with high-value assets to help them figure out the best options for their situation. If you are involved in a high-net-worth divorce, here are a few things you should keep in mind:

  1. High-Net-Worth Divorces Are Often More Contentious

When it comes to divorces that deal with high-value assets, it is much more likely for couples to be combative, especially when dealing with property division. When spouses have many assets, especially assets that are expensive, it can be even more difficult to figure out who gets what. It may be necessary to hire an appraiser to determine the value of any large assets or property such as real estate, businesses, vehicles, boats, jewelry, artwork, or other expensive items.

  1. High-Value Divorces Are More Likely to Be Long and Expensive

When divorces are contested, or there are a lot of issues to settle, it is likely that the proceedings will be long and drawn out, which can get expensive quickly. Although nobody wants a lengthy divorce, couples in high-asset divorces may also be better equipped with the funds to pay for divorces that require a lot of negotiating and help from lawyers.

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DuPage County divorce lawyerDivorce is stressful for many reasons. Not only do you have various emotions running through your head, but you also have to deal with the financial aspect of the divorce. It has been estimated that a typical divorce can cost anywhere from $8,500 up to $100,000. The actual cost of your divorce will depend on a variety of factors, with some of the most influential factors being where you live, whether or not you have children, and your attorney’s hourly rate. With a price tag of at least a couple thousand dollars, it is not uncommon for some couples to have sticker shock when it comes to paying for their divorce. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to reduce the cost of your Illinois divorce.

Figure Out Which Process You Want to Use

Before you even begin, you should know which type of divorce you want to use. Contrary to what many people may believe, traditional litigation is not the only way to get a divorce. You can also choose to go with a mediated divorce or a collaborative divorce. Each method of divorce has its advantages and disadvantages, but depending on your situation, a mediated or collaborative divorce may be able to save you both time and money.

Be Prepared With Organized Financial Records

Before you meet with your attorney to begin dividing your marital property, you should be sure you have all of your financial records organized and ready to go. Make sure your records are in order so your legal team can better understand your financial picture. Organizing your records yourself before a meeting saves you precious time for more important matters.

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DuPage County divorce lawyerSocial media has been one of the defining topics of the 20th century. According to Hootsuite, a social media management platform, there were nearly 3.5 billion people around the world actively using social media at the beginning of 2019. With so many people connected on the Internet through websites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat, people are sharing their personal lives with each other more than ever before. While this can be a good thing, it can be detrimental if you are going through a divorce. Sharing parts of your personal life online can create evidence that can be used against you that can affect the outcome of issues such as spousal maintenance, property division, and even child-centered issues such as parenting time and decision-making responsibilities.

Using Social Media Posts in Your Favor

Social media is easy to use, which allows people to post photos and comments without having to think too much about what they are doing. In some situations, these kinds of posts can leave clues for the other spouse about issues such as hidden assets or whether or not the ex-spouse has a true need for spousal maintenance. For example, your ex might be petitioning to receive spousal maintenance due to claims he or she will not be able to enjoy the same standard of living that was enjoyed during the marriage. However, if he or she posts photos of a vacation with friends, you may be able to use those posts as evidence that he or she was not being completely honest about his or her financial situation.

Social Media as Evidence in Court

In the state of Illinois, using information obtained from social media is a legitimate form of evidence. This means that anything you or your spouse post on social media could be used against you in court, as long as the information was not obtained illegally or fraudulently. You cannot open fake social media accounts with the intention of posing as another person to gain information. You also cannot “hack” into your spouse’s account with the intention of gaining information. As a general rule of thumb, if the information you are using was posted publicly and available to users with an account, it is typically admissible as evidence in court.

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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,A “gray divorce” is a fairly new term that people have been using when referring to those who get divorced in late adulthood. A divorce is considered a gray divorce when the couple who is getting divorced is over the age of 50. According to the Pew Research Center, the divorce rate for Americans over the age of 50 has doubled since 1990 and for Americans over the age of 65, the divorce rate has tripled. Older Americans have seen an increase in divorce rates while younger Americans between the ages of 25 and 39 have actually seen a decrease in the divorce rate, by about 20 percent. Typically, couples getting a gray divorce have been married for decades, which is why they face a lot of negative stigmas and backlash from those surrounding them. They also face unique circumstances when it comes to divorce, which is why specific considerations should be made. You Will Probably Be Entitled to Spousal Support

It is extremely common for long-term marriages to involve some sort of spousal support. In Illinois, specific factors are used to determine whether or not spousal support is necessary in a divorce. These factors can include:

  • The income and property of each spouse;
  • The standard of living established during the marriage;
  • The present and future earning capacity of each spouse;
  • The duration of the marriage; and
  • The age, health, occupation, vocational skills and employability of each spouse.
A marriage that lasted less than 20 years will involve some sort of temporary maintenance based on those factors. If the marriage lasted longer than 20 years, the length of maintenance payments can be equal to the length of the marriage, or indefinitely. You Will Need to Seriously Think About Your Retirement Plans One of the major factors that need consideration when getting a divorce after the age of 50 is your retirement plans. Typically, when you are married, you make financial plans to retire using your income, which can be from one or both spouses. When you get divorced, your retirement funds are typically (but not always) split in half, which means you could be set back in your retirement goals. Do Not Forget About Your Children In a gray divorce, children are typically adults or teenagers. It is important to remember that it does not matter what age your children are - news of a divorce can be devastating to anyone. You should remember that even if your children are adults, they still need your love and support, especially during your divorce. Try to keep them as informed as possible as this can help everyone. A Compassionate DuPage County Divorce Attorney Can Help Divorce is never easy, no matter your age, but it can be especially difficult when you have been married for decades. Every aspect of your life changes when you get a divorce, which is why it is important to have a knowledgeable and hard-working Aurora, IL divorce lawyer at your side. At the Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, PC, we understand how hard a divorce can be and will work to help you every step of the way. Contact our office today at 630-409-8184 to set up a consultation.

Sources:

https://www.thebalance.com/divorce-after-50-5-things-to-consider-2388813

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Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family law attorney, Illinois divorce laws,The division of marital property can be a long and contentious process, as both parties attempt to secure the value of joint assets and obtain full or majority ownership of the property. This can be particularly when a married couple owns a business together, and that business becomes part of the divorce negotiations.

Keeping the Doors Open

It is not uncommon for a small, family business to close its doors forever as a result of a divorce. In addition to the stress and resentment this causes, a business closing also negatively impacts the employees who lose their jobs and even the community that relies on its services. Here are few tips to consider when taking steps to protect your business prior to or during a divorce.
  • Keep accurate financial records, and do not allow business finances to mix with family finances.
  • Speaking of records, make sure all relevant documents are stored safely and easily accessible.
  • If you are intent on keeping the business after the divorce it may require that you sacrifice other assets or property.
  • Obtain a fair and accurate appraisal of the business using the services of a neutral, court-appointed professional.
  • Placing the business in a trust prevents it from being counted among marital assets, and protects the value of a company’s growth.
  • Obtaining a strong, prenuptial agreement also has the power to protect your business in the event of a divorce.
  • Consider different buyout scenarios; even going as far as to establish a payment schedule.
  • If you know a divorce is on the horizon, consider easing your spouse out of any job within the business or severely reducing their responsibilities prior to filing.
One silver lining to all this is that it is unusual for a business to be sold in order to satisfy a divorce settlement.

An Experienced Aurora Divorce Attorney Can Help Save Your Business

As any experienced divorce attorney will tell you, no two cases are exactly alike. Add the complexities of a family business to the mix and the stress can increase exponentially. However, when you rely on the counsel of a knowledgeable Illinois divorce lawyer who understands the delicate nature of asset division, and the laws that guide such matters, the end result can be satisfying. The Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C. uses a number of legal resources and specific knowledge gained from years of experience to help clients achieve a fair and equitable divorce. To schedule a consultation, contact our offices at 630-409-8184 and learn how this experience will benefit you.

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Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family law attorney, Illinois divorce laws,When a married couple decides to divorce everything they have obtained, amassed and created together suddenly becomes a desired possession by one party or the other, but very frequently property and assets are sought by both adults. The matter of property division is one that tends to increase the level of stress and cause prolonged court battles.

Understanding the Process

Along with the help of a knowledgeable divorce attorney with experience in matters of property division, it may be helpful to have a basic understanding of the guidelines Illinois judges refer to when faced with these matters. Consider the following information as a reference.
  • It happened that a couple owned two season tickets for the home games of a local professional sports team, but neither enjoyed the thought of continuing to attend games with the other once divorced. The wife even went so far as to file an emergency petition to obtain custody of the tickets. Eventually, the judge awarded the tickets to the husband but ordered him to purchase equal value seats for the wife.
  • Furthermore, Illinois law states specific measures that can be taken to protect property until such time a final plan for its division is finalized. One, for example, may file for a temporary restraining order or preliminary injunction to prevent the transfer, encumbrance or concealment of any property. Exceptions are allowed, however, if those transactions are a part of the normal course of business or required to sustain one’s life.
  • You should know that filing for a restraining order or injunction does not give that party more of a right to final ownership to the property, as all assets and property are considered equally in the court’s final adjudication and decision of property division.
In any divorce, the ultimate goal of the court is to consider both sides and come up with a plan for property division that is fair and equitable.

Rely on a Knowledgeable Illinois Property Division Attorney to Represent You

Every divorce has unique aspects that may create uncertainty and anxiety. Division of marital assets and property is a complex matter, but if you work with an experienced DuPage County divorce and property division divorce lawyer it can help ease the transition. The Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C. uses a variety of resources and years of experience to divide marital property in an equitable manner. Contact our offices at 630-409-8184 to set up a consultation. During this meeting, you can learn more about the divorce process and get answers to all your questions.

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Posted on in Divorce Finances

Illinois custody attorney, Illinois family law attorney, Illinois divorce lawyer,If you are headed for a divorce, an amicable parting and division of marital property definitely is the best case scenario. However, it does happen when one party may attempt to conceal certain assets or even disguise the value of property in an attempt to get out of the marriage with more than the other party.

What to Look For and Where to Look

Here are a few things to look for when faced with a divorce, especially if you think it is something your spouse may have been planning for some time.

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What Happens to my Pets in a Divorce?, pets, divorce, illinois divorce attorney, division of property, martial assetsMarried or unmarried people sincerely love their pets. Roughly 78 million dogs and 86 million cats are owned throughout our nation. When a marriage between pet owners ends in divorce, one of the most contentious matters to navigate through is deciding who will take ownership of the pets in the dividing household.

Are Pets Subject to Court Ordered Visitation?

Illinois law mandates that “any person having a right of property in an animal, or who keeps or harbors an animal, or who has it in his care, or acts as its custodian is that animal’s owner.”

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Property Division in Divorce , divorce, property division, family law, child support, marital assetsGoing through a divorce is a complex issue both legally and emotionally. Many contentious issues must be decided on including, child custody, child support, and property division. When a house is part of the property that needs to be divided the tenants of divorce law are used to determine how the home or the home's value is shared between the spouses. It takes an experienced and insightful DuPage County divorce lawyer to navigate this treacherous legal terrain successfully.

Equitable Division

Illinois law controls how real property is divided in a divorce. Illinois is an "equitable division state." That means that the law does not require that marital assets be divided equally among divorcing spouses. Instead, the law requires that property is distributed equitably. Judges rely on several variables to determine what an equitable division of property is, however, Illinois courts are forbidden to consider marital misconduct for property division. Instead, judges are instructed to consider:

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The Difference Between Marriage and a Civil Union,family law, illinois civil union, marriage, division of property, child custodySpending a lifetime with our loved ones is a beautiful thought. Thinking about what kind of house you are going to buy, if you are going to have children, maybe even pets can bring warm and fuzzy feelings into your heart. Many people consider marriage as a way to solidify their connection with their loved one. However, that is not the only option. Civil Unions are a less common way to create a binding union between loved ones.

What is a Civil Union?

A civil union is a legal status much like a marriage. Civil unions provide many of the same legal protections that marriage does. One key difference, however, is the legal protections exist at the state level. Federal protections like tax breaks and Social Security benefits are not built into a civil union the way they are a marriage.

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debt, DuPage County divorce attorneyIn an Illinois divorce, the property and assets of a couple are equitably (fairly) divided. What a lot of couples fail to take into account is that this process of division also applies to their debt. It does not just disappear, after all. Be prepared and protect your financial future. Know how to deal with debt during the divorce process, and how you can effectively protect yourself from debt that should no longer be considered “yours” once everything is completed.

Taking a Proactive Approach to Debt Before the Divorce

All too often, couples wait put off dealing with debt until the last possible minute, assuming it will all just work itself out during the divorce process. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Instead, debt may be wrongly assigned to a party that cannot reasonably afford it. However, even if debt is equitably distributed during the divorce, failure to think ahead can come back to haunt the one who should have been “off the hook.” This can be especially true in situations involving joint debts, such as joint credit cards, mortgages, and other installment loans.

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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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legal expenses, Aurora divorce attorneyIn many divorce cases, finances are a major cause of contention. Depending on the complexity of a couple’s circumstances, the divorce process itself can be very expensive. In addition, divorce requires the marital estate, including all marital assets and debts, to be allocated between the parties. When property division is left to the discretion of the court, Illinois law requires an equitable—not necessarily equal—allocation based on the consideration of a number of factors. These factors normally include the income and resources of each spouse, the contributions of each to the marital estate, and arrangements made for any children. The court must also consider claims of dissipation, or the inappropriate spending of marital assets by one spouse for purposes unrelated to the marriage. But are attorneys’ fees and other expenses of divorce considered “unrelated to the marriage?”

Unclear Statutory Guidance

The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) gives the court presiding over a divorce case the authority to order one spouse to contribute toward the payment of attorney fees and related expenses of the other party. The court also has the discretion to order the repayment of dissipated assets to the marital estate by the offending spouse. However, the possibility of considering attorney fees and other divorce expenses as dissipation may not seem to be clearly addressed in the law. Thus, the court may rely on precedents set in previous decisions in making its determination.

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Posted on in Division of Property

hiding assets, Illinois divorce attorneyFor some, the most painful part of a divorce is the division of the marital property. Illinois law requires judges to divide the marital property equitably. This means dividing the property fairly based a set of factors. However, if your spouse is hiding assets, you are at a disadvantage. You may get less than your fair share of the marital property. While there are many ways to hide assets, often they are in plain sight if you know where to look.

Electronic Discovery

One favorite technique of fraudsters is to withdraw money over time from the marital bank accounts and deposit the money in a secret account. Sometimes the secret account will be in the name of a friend or romantic partner to help avoid detection. But, because almost everything is now online, chances are that your spouse either checks the balance online or gets regular account updates via email.

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Posted on in Division of Property

pets, divorce, illinois divorce attorneyThere is no question that we Americans love our pets. According to the ASPCA, as many as 80 million dogs and 96 million cats are owned throughout the country, with many households owning more than one. With so many pet-owners, it is inevitable that many dogs and cats will be caught in the middle of a divorce situation, leaving spouses to wonder what will happen to their furry friends.

Illinois Law Regarding Pets

While the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Acts contains specific provisions for the division of marital property and the care of a couple’s children, the law makes no reference at all to companion animals. While dogs and cats may be treated as full-fledged members of the family, the law officially considers them property, with no more rights than an end table or a piece of artwork. This means that, when left to the court to decide, the court must allocate responsibility for the pet based upon a calculated monetary value and the rest of the marital estate.

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dissipation, marital assets, DuPage County family law attorneyDespite the inherent difficulties, most couples headed for a divorce are able to maintain a reasonable level of civility and personal responsibility. In some cases, on the other hand, the divorcing parties may be prone to making decisions that can negatively impact the proceedings. From a financial perspective, this may include wasting or dissipating marital or personal assets, either out of spite or due to an attitude of apathy regarding the situation. Sadly, however, the emotional nature of divorce may also lead to accusations that are unfounded, so if your spouse has filed a groundless claim for dissipation, you will need to know how to protect yourself.

What is Dissipation?

Dissipation, according to the law, is the wasting or inappropriate spending of an asset during of subsequent to the irretrievable breakdown of a marriage. The problem with dissipating assets is that doing so can directly impact many of the financial considerations of the divorce process. Spousal maintenance, property distribution, and child support are all dependent upon the assets, resources, and income of the interested parties. Wasted assets are, if not addressed and repaid, may not be taken into account as required, potentially skewing the outcome.

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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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