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DuPage County marital debt division attorneyWhen going through the divorce process in Illinois, couples typically focus on how to divvy up assets they acquired during the marriage. Less attention is paid to the financial obligations the parties incurred since the wedding date, so debt in divorce is often overlooked. In particularly contentious cases, bitter disputes and court battles may erupt as one spouse attempts to hold the other accountable for the amount due. Even if you are on relatively good terms, marital debts can often stand in the way when you are trying to reach an agreement on distributing real estate and personal property.

It is always wise to rely on experienced legal counsel when addressing divorce-related issues, so you should consult with an attorney about your specific circumstances. However, an overview of Illinois law may help you understand the basic concepts.

Illinois Law on Dividing Assets and Debts

Illinois’s statute on the disposition of property in a divorce requires an equitable distribution of all property and assets that belong to the marital estate. The law goes on to include debt and financial obligations in the definition of “marital property.” Therefore, it is important to consider the following regarding any debt belonging to you or your spouse:

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DuPage County hidden asset divorce lawyerFor every divorcing couple, there will always be at least one issue that is likely to be contentious and cause issues during negotiations. For some couples, issues involving the children, such as the allocation of parenting time and parental responsibilities, can cause tension and difficulty. For others, the asset division process can be this source of tension. The financial side of divorce is extremely important to pay attention to, as it can greatly affect your individual finances for years into the future. Some people may even go as far as to attempt to hide certain assets from their spouse in the hopes that the asset will not have to be split upon divorce. Purposefully concealing income and other assets from your spouse during a divorce is illegal and can prevent a fair distribution of marital assets.

Hidden Assets and the Asset Division Process

Obviously, one of the issues that would be affected by your spouse hiding assets is simply how the assets are allocated between the two of you. Illinois law states that all marital property is to be divided in an equitable manner among both spouses, but marital property cannot be divided if it is concealed. Here are a few signs to look for that may indicate that your spouse is concealing assets:

  • Your spouse insists on maintaining complete control over the finances and access to online bank accounts.

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Naperville IL marital property division attorneyGetting a divorce often makes people feel like they are diving into the great unknown. From the moment you and your spouse make the decision to split up, there are many changes that should be anticipated. Some of the biggest changes that take place during a divorce have to do with your finances and how your assets are distributed. The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) states that each spouse is supposed to get an equitable share of the marital estate, which may not always work out to be an equal share. However, when it comes to certain assets, such as those obtained through an inheritance or family wealth, property division can become tricky because each situation is different from the next.

Determining Your Marital and Non-Marital Property

Prior to actually dividing any of your property, your attorney will want to determine which of your properties are marital assets and which are non-marital assets.  According to the IMDMA, in general, any asset acquired by either spouse prior to the marriage is considered to be non-marital property that is not subject to division during a divorce. Any asset that is acquired by either spouse during the marriage is considered to be marital property, which is subject to division during a divorce. There are a few exceptions to the marital property rule, however. Assets that are obtained during a marriage can be considered non-marital property if the asset:

  • Was given as a gift, acquired by legacy or descent, or acquired in exchange for such property

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DuPage County family law attorneysThere are many issues that a couple is bound to disagree on during a divorce. Some of the most common conflict-causing issues include child-related concerns such as allocating parenting time and decision-making responsibilities, whether or not you receive spousal maintenance, and what to do with the family home, among others. The most notorious issue that may cause conflict, however, is your finances. Just as finances tend to be a common cause of arguments and conflict in marriage, your finances can also be an area of concern in your divorce. A temporary financial restraining order can be a useful tool during your divorce and can actually protect your assets from being mishandled or wasted by your spouse

Understanding Temporary Financial Restraining Orders

When you think of a restraining order, you probably think of a document that prevents one person from coming within a certain distance of another person or committing an act of violence against them. Though the subject of the two types of restraining orders are different, they both operate under the same principle of protection. With a financial restraining order, the goal is to protect your marital assets from being misused, destroyed, spent, transferred, or otherwise handled inappropriately by your spouse during your divorce. 

Do You Need a Temporary Financial Restraining Order?

Even in divorce cases that are technically considered “uncontested divorces”, there is going to be some level of conflict about something as you go through the process. Not all high-asset divorces are also going to be high conflict, but having more financial issues to deal with can lead to more disagreements.

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Wheaton divorce lawyerEvery divorce case will have its areas that cause disputes. For some couples, child-related issues will be the epicenter of most of the divorce conflict. For others, typically spouses who do not have children, the asset division process can be this source of contention. The asset division process can be long and confusing, especially since much of the process involves delving into your finances.

Unfortunately, divorce can bring out the worst in some people, prompting them to do things that they normally would not do or things that they know they should not do. In a high-asset divorce, it is not uncommon for a spouse to attempt to hide assets or otherwise keep his or her spouse from receiving a portion of the marital estate. This is where help from a forensic accountant can be beneficial.

Illinois Asset Division and Discovery

When it comes to the rules governing asset division, each state is different. The state of Illinois uses what is called an equitable distribution model. This, however, is not to be confused with equal distribution. Equitable distribution means that each spouse will receive a portion of the marital estate, that is deemed fair when all relevant circumstances are considered. Illinois courts urge couples to agree upon asset division themselves, but a court will divide assets if need be. If the court divides a couple’s marital assets, there is a chance that one spouse will receive a larger portion of the marital estate than the other spouse.

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