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 division attorney

There are many things that you share with your spouse when you are married. For some people, one of the most stressful parts of divorce is figuring out what you and your spouse have to do to finalize the legal process and disentangle your finances. Before you start dividing up your assets and debts, you and your spouse must determine which of your assets are considered marital property and which assets will remain personal, non-marital property. In cases in which one spouse receives an inheritance during the marriage, the inheritance is usually considered to be non-marital property and resides with the spouse to whom it was given. However, this may not always be the case, so it is important to understand how these types of assets are handled in an Illinois divorce.

Marital and Non-Marital Property

In the state of Illinois, there is a distinction between marital and non-marital property. According to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, anything that a couple acquires during the marriage is considered to be marital property, aside from a few exceptions. One of those exceptions includes “property acquired by gift, legacy, or descent,” and inheritances fall into this category. In these instances, inheritances are typically not included in the marital estate alongside other property that is subject to division. With that being said, there are still some situations in which inheritance might still be subject to division during a divorce.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_Kane-County-family-law-lawyer.jpg-min-1.jpgNot all marriages have a happy ending. In fact, depending on the source you consult, around 40 to 50 percent of all first marriages in the United States end in divorce. If that statistic was not sobering enough, the divorce rate only increases for people who are married Kendall County a second and even a third time, with numbers soaring to somewhere around 60 to 65 percent of marriages ending in divorce. Though the statistics suggest that the odds are against you when it comes to remarriage, everyone deserves to be happy and find a partner with whom they can spend their life. Having a successful second marriage is not impossible; you just need to plan accordingly before you walk down the aisle a second time. Below are a few things you should keep in mind before you get remarried:

Be Truthful

First and foremost, you should be sure that you divulge everything of importance to your future spouse before you are married. You should be open and honest about all of your assets, credit history, debts, and other obligations. If you have obligations to provide child support or spousal maintenance to a child or spouse from a prior marriage, tell your new partner about them. Getting everything out in the open and being honest is the first step to a successful marriage.

Decide How You Want to Keep Your Assets

Second or subsequent marriages often include spouses who are bringing significant property and assets into a marriage. Make a list of each of your major assets and how you would like to use them or how they will be handled after your death. You and your spouse should decide how you want to handle all of your assets going forward. Will you have a joint bank account, or will you both still keep separate bank accounts? Which assets are important to separate?

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Aurora property division lawyerAs much as it is an emotional process, a divorce is also a legal process that is meant to separate you and your spouse from having anything lawfully in common. Like any legal proceeding, this can take time to complete, especially when it comes to the division of your assets. This is typically a point of contention between spouses when getting a divorce. When you are married, you and your spouse may have accumulated a lot of property together, but asset division deals with much more than just physical property. You must also divide things such as retirement funds, bank accounts, life insurance, and even any debts you and your spouse owe. The state of Illinois has a specific process for doing this, and it is important that you understand how your assets will be divided in the event a judge must intervene.

Distinguishing Between Marital and Non-Marital Property

In Illinois, only marital property and marital debt are subject to division. Marital property is any property, assets, or debts that were obtained during the marriage, except for the following:

  • Property given as a gift or that was inherited

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DuPage County, IL family law attorney prenuptial agreementAs times are changing, so are attitudes toward previously taboo topics, such as signing prenuptial agreements before marriage. Over the years, drafting a prenuptial agreement before tying the knot has become more and more popular. One possible reason for the increase in popularity is that people are waiting until later in life to get married the first time. This means more people are entering into marriage with more assets that they want to protect. Prenuptial agreements must be created carefully, or they run the risk of being invalidated if they are contested during a divorce. Here are a few ways your prenuptial agreement may be found invalid:

  1. The Agreement Was Not in the Right Format

In the state of Illinois, prenuptial agreements must be in writing. In other words, you cannot have an oral prenuptial agreement. Both you and your spouse must sign the agreement for it to become valid, and you must file it with the clerk of the circuit court so there is a record of the agreement.

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Dupage County asset dissipation lawyerIn a perfect world, couples who decide to end their marriage would do so amicably and without any ill feelings. Unfortunately, we do not live in a perfect world, and divorcing couples are often much less than amicable. In some divorces, feelings of anger, resentment, greed, and spite are driving factors in decisions made by one or both spouses. In cases such as these, it is not uncommon for one spouse to do anything he or she can to keep the other spouse from receiving his or her fair share of the marital estate. The most common way of doing this is to waste the marital assets, also known as “dissipation.”

How Is Dissipation Defined in Illinois?

According to the Illinois Supreme Court, dissipation refers to the “use of marital property for the sole benefit of one of the spouses for a purpose unrelated to the marriage at a time the marriage is undergoing an irretrievable breakdown.” In other words, dissipation occurs when one spouse wastes, destroys, or spends marital property during the breakdown of the marriage for the purpose of depriving the other spouse of the property.

Examples of dissipation of marital property can include:

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Make Sure Your Prenuptial Agreement is Valid, divorce, family law, marital assets, Prenuptial Agreement, Aurora divorce attorneyWhen the Illinois Uniform Premarital Agreement Act went into effect it applied to all premarital agreements executed on or after January 1, 1990. So while premarital agreements, also called prenuptial agreements or “prenups,” have been in use for more than 25 years, every year a number of these contracts are voided for a variety of reasons.

Without the help of an experienced lawyer who focuses their practice on matters of prenuptial agreements, you could watch as your spouse walks off with a lion’s share of the marital assets. Understanding the basics is a good start toward protecting yourself in the event of a divorce.

What Might Invalidate Your Prenup?

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Will separate bank accounts create a happier marriage and prevent divorce, divorce, divorce finances, martial assets, bank accountsOne of the most common reasons for divorce, along with cheating, is financial issues. Studies show that couples who argue about money are more likely to split.

Although the number of married couples opening separate bank accounts is increasing (a TD Bank survey shows that 42 percent of couples have both individual and joint bank accounts), it remains taboo for spouses to maintain individual bank accounts.

However, there are several reasons that married couples should go against the grain and opt for separate bank accounts:

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A Colorado man, eager to prevent his wife from receiving any funds in their upcoming divorce, went to a rarely, if ever, heard of extreme. The Colorado Springs Gazette recently reported that Earl Ray Jones allegedly converted funds belonging to him and his wife into gold, then threw it all into the trash. The funds, which the Gazette confirms Jones did convert into gold, were in excess of $500,000. While no one saw Jones throw the gold bars and coins, likely weighing around 22 pounds, into the motel dumpster as he claims, the money is nowhere to be found. No garbage collectors reported the money found, nor has it been recovered from the trash dump.

marital asset division imageWhile this is an extreme example of a man concealing marital assets, actively hiding or spending money or disposing of marital property can result in serious problems. In Illinois, it can result in an unequal distribution of marital property and possibly jail time.

From the Beginning: Concealing Assets in the Initial Report

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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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