If you are facing the possibility of a divorce, you and your spouse will need to address a number of important considerations along the way. For example, one or both of you will likely need to find someplace to live. If the two of you have children together, a parenting plan will need to be developed that includes arrangements for the allocation of parental responsibilities and each parent’s parenting time. Simply adjusting to everyday life as a single person is likely to present challenges in and of itself. However, many of the most difficult concerns in any divorce tend to focus on a couple’s finances, including how their marital property will be split and whether either spouse should expect spousal support payments.
Property Division and Maintenance Considerations
The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (750 ILCS 5) provides that decisions about money and property in an Illinois divorce are to be made based on the circumstances of each unique case. If you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse cannot come to a settlement agreement, it will be up to the court to identify and divide the marital estate, as well as to decide if there is a need for spousal support – known in the law as “maintenance.” In making these decisions, a family court judge is required by law to consider a variety of factors related to each. Such factors include:
- Each spouse’s income, earning capacity, and available resources
- The role each spouse played during the marriage, how that role affected the value of the marital property, and its effect on the earning ability of the other spouse
- How long the marriage lasted and the standard of living established in the marriage
- How maintenance and allocated property will affect each spouse’s tax obligations
- How parenting responsibilities are being divided
- Any valid agreements between the spouses, including prenuptial and postnuptial agreements
Putting the Pieces Together
Illinois law also directs a presiding judge to take into account the overall financial situation present during the marriage, as well as in the pending divorce. It is important to recognize that the asset division process and spousal support determinations are not independent considerations. In fact, the law specifies that each might affect the other. For example, if you have asked for spousal support in your divorce, and the court is deciding on how to divide your marital estate, the judge is statutorily obligated to consider whether property should be given to you “in lieu of or in addition to maintenance.”...
Divorce is an extremely emotional process that will affect almost every aspect of your life. The financial impact of divorce can leave some recently divorced individuals unsure of how to proceed. Getting a divorce is expensive and you may find that you have a much tighter budget afterward as well as additional ongoing costs, such as spousal maintenance or child support. When going through a divorce, it is crucial to take important steps that will protect your finances and help you start off your new life on the right foot.
Document All Marital Property
Illinois is an equitable distribution state that means that property in a divorce is divided fairly, but not necessarily equally. A judge will consider a number of factors when dividing marital property including the contribution of each spouse to the marriage, financial stability, and other factors. Marital property includes any assets that were obtained by the couple during the marriage. It is important to document all assets, debts, and other marital property so you can ensure all assets are accounted for....
Divorce can be an emotional process, and it also involves a wide variety of legal issues that can be difficult to understand. Both of these factors can cause people to make mistakes that may not only result in unfavorable decisions, but they can also make the divorce process more expensive. If you are going through a divorce, avoiding the following mistakes is crucial in order to protect your financial interests and future.
The stress of separating from your partner, when combined with the anger, sadness, or resentment you may be feeling, can result in fights that will not help your case. For example, you may argue about certain marital property based on a desire to win arguments with your spouse rather than out of a real need to keep these assets. Doing this can draw out the divorce process unnecessarily, resulting in higher costs that may leave you in a more difficult financial position following your divorce. While you may have to fight for what is rightfully yours, you should be sure to understand when these types of disputes will be necessary, and when they will be financially beneficial....
Looking for points of disagreement in a divorce is not particularly hard to do. Couples facing the end of a marriage often find the avoidance of giving in to volatile emotions that are easily triggered difficult. One area that is especially prone to the dispute is the division of marital assets. The more complex and valuable the property at stake is, the more invested each spouse is in getting the share he or she thinks is appropriate.
Property division is even more important now that federal tax law eliminates deductions for maintenance payments (spousal support), thus giving the higher-earning spouse much less incentive to agree to pay maintenance as part of a divorce settlement or pre-/post- marital agreement. This means the lower earning spouse will have to hope a large property settlement comes his or her way.
One additional asset that is becoming more of an issue among high net-worth couples is cryptocurrency. This digital currency is known for wild swings in value, but is gaining ever-growing traction among mainstream financial institutions and the federal and State governments. In fact, Illinois is considering allowing residents to pay their taxes with bitcoin. This lack of stability, as well as the ease of concealing its existence, can present challenges when evaluating how to address cryptocurrencies in a divorce....
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....
The road to divorce is rarely straight and clear and often involves a number of deviations and recalibrations as couples try to work through difficulties. When divorce is imminent, spouses may think that the hard part of the process is over. Yet while ending a marriage is extremely painful and complicated, deciding to move on is the just first step.
A spouse can certainly walk into a divorce attorney’s office without doing anything more than deciding to divorce, even before telling the other spouse. However, entering the divorce process without significant advance planning is likely to set a person up for a much harder transition, as well as a longer period of time to conclude the divorce case.
Taking the time to put key pieces of information together will allow consultations with a divorce attorney to be more productive and will make obtaining the result a person may want much easier. This approach may appear to involve more work than anticipated, but walking into the process without a clear picture of one’s starting position can greatly complicate things....
When a couple decides to marry, no object is more symbolic of this commitment than an engagement ring. The level of commitment this piece of jewelry represents is reflected in the thousands of dollars typically spent. Consequently, if the marriage does not occur, or the relationship ends in divorce, the purchaser of the engagement may want the item back, particularly if the piece of jewelry is a family heirloom. However, the receiver may conceivably view the ring as a gift that was freely given, and thus, not necessary to return.
These differing points of view can add more tension to an already combustible situation, and while filing a lawsuit to demand the return of the ring may seem tempting, resolving the situation privately is best for reducing additional emotional pain and unnecessary expense. However, in the context of divorce, fighting over a ring is often connected with the bigger question of which assets are considered marital property. An engagement ring, though, maintains a unique status under the law, and thus the right to possession is treated somewhat differently than other kinds of gifts.
Keeping Gifts Generally...
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....
Rarely does one single issue or event push a spouse to file for divorce. Usually, divorce comes as problems pile up over time until, one day, the couple realizes the marriage cannot continue. The typical slow buildup to divorce does not mean that some issues are not more pivotal than others or that one overarching problem was the main catalyst,. Yet do the reasons behind the decision to end a marriage have any effect on the outcome of the divorce case?
Illinois is a no-fault divorce state that means that all a spouse must claim in the divorce petition in order for a Court to dissolve the marriage is that irreconcilable differences led to the breakdown of the marriage. While no particular grounds are needed to justify divorce, this does not mean the Court will not look at the specific behavior of a spouse when evaluating the appropriate provisions of the final divorce order, especially as it concerns property division.
An article in the Chicago Tribune describes the most recent chapter in the ongoing divorce battle between former Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr. and his wife, Sandi Jackson. Sandi Jackson now wants Jackson Jr. to provide the names and contact information of all his sexual partners during their 25-year marriage, which could be used later as a factor in the alimony award and property settlement. How and when do Courts examine a spouse's behavior as a factor during divorce?...
A home can be the most valuable asset a couple owns. Moreover, spouses may also have emotional ties to the marital home. In a divorce, determining who gets the couple’s home, or whether to sell it, is one of the most important considerations.
In an Illinois divorce, a couple’s marital property is divided under the principles of equitable distribution. This means that the division will be fair, although not necessarily equal. Since only marital property is divided, a house is often subject to division, but not always....
In Illinois divorces, Courts divide spousal property, according to the principles of equitable distribution. Therefore, marital property is divided fairly between spouses. Equitable distribution, however, does not necessarily mean equal property division.
One instance in which marital property will not be equally divided is in the event of marital waste. Marital waste, or the dissipation of property, occurs when one spouse dissipates assets prior to the divorce. Dissipation of both marital and separate property is taken into account. If the Court finds that one spouse has committed waste, the Court will take the waste into account when determining a fair division of property....
Valuation Date for Illinois Divorce Assets
Under Illinois law, assets in a divorce are valued as of the date of trial, or as close to it as possible. Assigning value to an asset can sometimes be difficult, either due to circumstances (the trial date is postponed the day before) or the type of asset (stock prices fluctuate based on changing markets)....
Before you were married, you and your future spouse had no doubt accumulated personal assets. And now as a couple, you and your spouse have likely accumulated marital property for which you can both claim ownership. Divorce is difficult for anyone, but it becomes increasingly more difficult when couples have differing ideas on the division of property during divorce proceedings.
Paramount to the determination of who gets what during property division concerns how the property is classified. The property is either classified as marital, meaning that there the couple has joint ownership of the property, or it is classified as nonmarital, which means the individual owns the property....