Options When You Cannot Agree on Property Division
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.
There are several options couples can utilize to settle property division disputes, as well as types of evidence and factors Courts will look for when evaluating the appropriate division of real estate.
Selling Personal Possessions
People accumulate a lot over time, especially after marriage. Moreover, the amount is typically more than most realize. An event like divorce is often the catalyst for people to access what they own to better determine which assets a person may want to keep.
All property acquired during marriage is generally considered part of the marital estate and must be divided with the other spouse. Personal possessions are particularly prone to instigate disagreement as people tend to form emotional attachments to these items. Additionally, they may find that agreeing on how to divide personal possession is nearly impossible. One option, to avoid the cost and delay of a Court battle, is to sell these items and split the proceeds.
The best forum to sell marital property largely depends on the type at issue. Available avenues include the following:
- Using a dealer to value and price antiques or collectibles, preferably more than one, who can usually assist with finding a buyer;
- Using an estate sale company for couples with many items to sell, as these entities can help organize and present the items in the most attractive manner possible; or
- Using the lower cost option of a simple yard sale or posting the items for sale online via sites like Craigslist or eBay.
Before formally putting items for sale, however, spouses should agree on the split of any proceeds so additional complications are not introduced.
Splitting the Profit of Real Estate Sales
Keeping or selling a piece of real estate, particularly the family home, is a common source of disagreement, and market conditions can play a big role in the best way to handle this dilemma. If spouses do decide to move forward with a sale, agreeing on how to split the proceeds lands many parties in front of a Judge seeking resolution.
Courts look at numerous factors to settle this issue, including:
- Who owns the property;
- Who initially paid for the property;
- Whether the property’s value increased during the marriage;
- Who maintained the property, i.e., performed repairs; and
- What additional assets are available to split.
Property division is a complicated issue with permanent and substantial consequences, and nothing should be agreed upon until an experienced divorce attorney reviews all pertinent documents to avoid relinquishing important rights.
Speak with an Illinois Divorce Attorney
Property settlements rarely can be overturned or modified; thus, you get one chance to get a settlement right. Work with talented Schaumburg family law attorney Nicholas W. Richardson to ensure your financial future is fully protected and that the assets you receive are a fair reflection of your contribution. Contact the law firm today for a confidential consultation.