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Naperville IL divorce lawyerMost couples buy a home at some point in their marriage. The family home is often the most valuable asset a couple owns, and the prospect of figuring out how to divide it in a divorce can be daunting. Fortunately, Illinois courts have established means of handling property division during divorce, and homes are no exception.

Who Gets to Keep the House?

Sometimes, it is necessary for a divorcing couple to sell the family home and divide the equity. However, it is common for one spouse to keep the home. Which spouse that will be may depend on a variety of factors, including each spouse’s financial situation, employment, and personal preferences. If there are children involved, the parent who is given the most parenting time may get to keep the home. The spouse who leaves the home may be able to recover their share of the home’s value in one of several ways.

Buying Out the Value of the Home

The spouse who stays in the home will usually do one of the following:

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Naperville IL divorce lawyerRetirement funds, such as pensions and 401(k) accounts, are often a substantial issue in an Illinois divorce. For a couple who have earned average incomes throughout the duration of their marriage, retirement accounts can make up the majority of their accumulated wealth. As such, spouses are often concerned with the impact of a division of retirement savings as a consequence of their divorce.

In our last post, we discussed the impact of divorce on Social Security benefits. Here, we will examine the way that retirement accounts are handled in a divorce.

401(k) and Contribution Plans 

Unless spouses signed a valid prenuptial agreement stating otherwise, 401(k) plans with contributions during the marriage are considered marital property and may be subject to division. Though contributions from before the marriage may remain non-marital assets, contributions during the marriage belong to the marital estate.

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DuPage County divorce attorneyOnce a couple knows their marriage is over, spouses preparing to divorce in Illinois can become very competitive and hostile. One tactic a spouse might employ in an effort to get revenge, pay less future spousal support, or otherwise get the upper hand in the divorce, is to hide assets and sources of income.

This tactic is more common in high asset divorces, when a couple’s financial picture may be complex and one spouse may manage many or most of the assets, leaving the other spouse in the dark. Finding hidden assets and income that one spouse tries to hide from the other may even require the help of a professional with a special set of skills. Here are several things to keep in mind if you think your spouse may be hiding assets.

Participate in Discovery

The Illinois divorce process includes a period called “discovery” wherein couples request financial information from each other. If you are unsure whether your spouse is hiding assets or not, you can use tools like depositions and interrogatories (a legal interrogation requiring a response) to get a more complete picture. The information your spouse provides during discovery must be given under penalty of perjury.

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DuPage County property division attorneyFor many Americans, having a vehicle is extremely important and practically necessary to live everyday life. In the suburbs of Chicago and surrounding counties, many people rely on their vehicles to commute to and from work every day, making them a vital asset. However, as a physical and often valuable asset, vehicles can be subject to division during a divorce. This means you and your spouse will be tasked with the job of determining how your vehicles will be handled. Before you start the negotiation process, there are certain considerations you should make pertaining to your vehicles.

Are Your Vehicles Subject to Division?

Before you do anything, you should determine if your vehicles will even be included in your marital estate. According to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA,) only marital property, meaning that which was acquired during the marriage, is subject to division. If the vehicle was purchased prior to the marriage, it is likely not considered marital property and therefore not subject to division in your divorce.

Debt Still Owed on a Vehicle

When allocating vehicles in a divorce, many people can forget that some vehicles may still carry debt with them. In a divorce, not only do you have to allocate any shared property that you may own, but you must also allocate any shared debt that you have, which may include a vehicle loan. Typically, the spouse who is keeping the vehicle is responsible for paying the vehicle loan, but under some circumstances, the other spouse can be ordered to pay the loan.

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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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