Divorce rocks the finances of every couple, including those with higher incomes and assets. Weathering the fallout of the loss of a combined income and the division of marital assets is one of the hardest adjustments any divorced person must make. Knowing which assets to take and which are better off relinquished or sold is not easy, especially when factoring in the emotional attachment spouses form over certain items. However, finding the right balance is the only way most divorced individuals have a realistic chance of recovering from this financial shift. The marital home is the largest physical asset most couples own, and it often looms large in the property settlement process.
Equitable division is the rule that governs property division in Illinois, which means the court will look for a fair division of assets, but not necessarily an equal one. Under this system, a spouse may be required to argue why he or she should receive a certain asset. When addressing the marital home, specific questions should be asked before making a strong stance in favor of keeping this property.
Questions to Ask About Keeping the Family Home
In many cases, at least one spouse will form a strong attachment to the family home, and either spouse may find it difficult to think of selling the home or giving up ownership to the other spouse. Good reasons do exist for keeping the home, including providing continuity for children, maintaining some form of financial security, and the possibility of appreciation in value....
The common perception is that couples who are older and have weathered decades of ups and downs in their relationship will stay together forever. Of course, this is not always the case, and older couples do get divorced, even after 30 or more years of marriage. In fact, divorce among spouses over the age of 50 (known as “gray divorce”) has doubled since the 1990s, meaning more people approaching or in retirement must make major life changes.
Divorce between older couples may be more amicable, but different financial considerations come into play that need to be addressed. Regardless of the length of a marriage, spouses are required to divide marital assets and debts. However, older couples have less time to recover from the financial consequences of dividing everything by half, and they often have more complicated asset portfolios to distribute. Importantly, property division is rarely, if ever, revised by the courts after a divorce has been finalized, so getting it right the first time is crucial.
General Property Division Concerns
Illinois follows the equitable distribution model for property division in divorce that means marital property is divided according to what is fair, rather than strictly down the middle. Marital property includes anything acquired by either spouse during the marriage, as well as certain commingled marital and non-marital assets....
No one wants to give up an item he or she worked hard to acquire, but divorce requires both spouses to relinquish a portion of the assets accumulated during marriage. Still, agreeing on an acceptable division of property is a huge challenge for many divorcing couples.
Illinois law requires property division to be equitable or fair. This often means spouses receive roughly equal amounts; however, the final outcome will depend upon the Court’s evaluation of factors that examine the circumstances of the marriage and the financial position of each party. While a Judge can settle the issue if requested, couples may be better off finding a private compromise in cases of extreme disagreement.
Personal items and collectibles can be particularly hard to divide due to the sentimentality people often attach to them. One example of a creative solution to this dilemma is the auction Russell Crowe plans to have as part of the divorce settlement he will pay to his soon-to-be ex-wife....
One of the perks of marriage is sharing and receiving benefits from a spouse’s property and income. However, this can become a huge negative when a couple divorces.
In addition to dividing marital assets, a divorcing couple is also expected to divide marital debt. Deciding how to handle these obligations can be tricky, and both parties may benefit from settling property division before a divorce is finalized, or at the very least, via a private agreement.
If the Court gets involved in deciding this issue, Illinois follows the equitable division of marital property system in divorce. Equitable division requires Courts to determine the fairest way to split a couple's marital property by taking into account a variety of factors set forth in Illinois statute. In practical terms, this may mean the division is not equal. Moreover, as the division concerns marital debt specifically, how the debt was accumulated can greatly influence how a Court decides to allocate that debt....
Avoiding the stress that accumulates prior to and during a divorce is not possible for most individuals. The issues surrounding divorce are sensitive, personal and have significant long-term implications that often overwhelm one's attempts to keep his or her emotions in check. Property division, especially among couples with substantial assets, is one of the more complex and contentious areas in divorce proceedings.
Disputes are particularly more likely if one spouse is the primary income-earner and controller of the assets. In this situation, the other spouse may have concerns about the concealment of assets in an effort to keep a spouse out the divorce settlement. The concealment or intentional omission of assets potentially subject to division in divorce will have serious financial consequences for the deceived spouse, and must be aggressively investigated if such action is suspected.
The former wife of Robert Foisie, a wealthy entrepreneur and benefactor of Worcester Polytechnic Institute, filed a lawsuit against Foisie and the school following discovery of a Swiss trust account containing $4.5 million that was not disclosed during their divorce — a trust that was later gifted to the school. Given how important accurate accountings of assets are to a fair divorce settlement, a understanding of the financial information all divorcing parties must disclose, and how to handle suspicions a spouse is hiding assets, is essential....