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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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Naperville IL divorce lawyerDivorce can be a particularly expensive legal endeavor, especially for couples who already have complicated finances. When a couple or one of the spouses is struggling with debt, the costs of divorce can be incredibly difficult to bear. Many people benefit from pursuing debt relief through bankruptcy around the time of their divorce, but if this is something you are considering, you should understand how the timing of your filings can affect your finances and the divorce process.

Timing Your Divorce and Bankruptcy Filings

Some couples choose to file for bankruptcy together before beginning the divorce process. One benefit of doing so is the ability to share bankruptcy fees and costs with your spouse. Filing for bankruptcy before divorce can also help to simplify the division of marital assets and debts, especially in the case of Chapter 7 bankruptcy, through which certain assets are liquidated in exchange for the discharge of debt. Having a more clear understanding of where your finances will stand after bankruptcy can lead to a more equitable distribution.

However, there are situations in which waiting to file for bankruptcy individually after the divorce is a better option. For example, if a spouse has mostly non-marital debt, it is likely in the other spouse’s best interest to stay out of the bankruptcy process. Filing for bankruptcy separately may also be necessary to ensure that each spouse qualifies for Chapter 7 bankruptcy according to the terms of the means test. Alternatively, if you are interested in pursuing Chapter 13 bankruptcy so that you can retain more of your assets, it may be best to wait until after the divorce, as this process can last for between three and five years.

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DuPage County divorce attorney debt division

For many people, going to college to get an education is an important step that they must take to advance themselves in their careers. However, college education does not come with small price tags. According to Forbes, there are approximately 45 million people in the United States with student loan debt, the majority of which owe between $20,000 and $40,000. Student loan debt may be one of the largest debts that either you or your spouse have. If you decide to get a divorce in Illinois, debt can be an important factor when it comes to asset and debt division since you are required to allocate all of your property and liabilities. An experienced Illinois divorce attorney can assist you with this process.

Are Student Loans Marital or Nonmarital Property?

Before you can even begin to look at dividing up student loan debt, you must first look to see if the debt is technically marital or nonmarital property. If the student loans were incurred before the marriage took place, then they would be considered non-marital property and would likely remain the responsibility of the person who incurred them. If the student loans were obtained after the marriage took place, they are considered marital property and will be subject to division.

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Wheaton debt division lawyerDealing with the marital estate is arguably one of the most difficult aspects of a divorce. Contention over who gets to keep the family home and who gets the money in savings accounts can be the cause of many arguments during the asset division process. One thing to note is that property and assets are not the only things that must be divided during this division process you must also allocate your debts between the two of you. Allocating debt can prove to be a stressful process, especially since debts created by one spouse may need to be divided between the two of you.

Is it Marital or Non-Marital Debt?

The first thing you must do is determine which of your debts are actually part of the marital estate and which of your debts are personal debts. According to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA), any property or debts acquired between the day you were married and the day you filed for divorce are considered to be part of the marital estate. If the debt was acquired before you were married or after you filed for divorce, it will probably be considered individual debt. Marital debt can include:

  • Credit card debt

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Wheaton prenup lawyerWhen you see wedding bells in your near future, there are probably 101 things on your mind -- and a prenuptial agreement is not likely to be one of them. Though it can seem unromantic and it may feel like you do not trust your future marriage, a prenuptial agreement can be a hugely beneficial tool in the event that you and your spouse ever get divorced. Prenuptial agreements give you freedoms from certain laws that you would not otherwise have. A prenuptial agreement is a legal document that allows you and your spouse to basically plan your divorce before it happens. Prenuptial agreements allow you to address issues such as property division, spousal maintenance and ownership of businesses or professional practices.

Prenuptial agreements are not just for the rich and famous -- they are useful for almost everyone. Here are a few reasons why you may want to consider getting a prenuptial agreement before you tie the knot:

1. One of You Has Been Married Before

If this is the second trip down the aisle for either you or your spouse, you should strongly consider getting a prenuptial agreement. A prior marriage means you are probably coming into this marriage with more property and you may have other obligations from your previous marriage, like child support. A prenuptial agreement can protect these obligations.

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Wheaton property division attorneyOne of the most difficult issues that all couples have to face when they get a divorce is determining how they will divide the marital property. Most people think that property division only pertains to assets such as the family home, vehicles, cash and other household items, but all of a couple’s property needs to be divided during a divorce -- including assets and debts that are not necessarily tangible. Property division tends to become more difficult the longer a couple has been married because couples that have been together for many years have typically accumulated more together.

Marital and Non-marital Property

Before you go to court, you must first determine which property is actually subject to division. In Illinois, all marital property is subject to division and non-marital property is not. Marital property is any property or debt that was acquired by either spouse after the marriage. All other property is considered to be non-marital property.

Factors Used in Making Determinations

If you and your spouse, along with each of your attorneys cannot come to an agreement about marital property, a judge will assign the property to each spouse as he or she sees fit. There are certain factors a judge must take into consideration before he or she assigns the property. These factors include:

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Wheaton asset division attorneyIf you own a business or professional practice, chances are that is one of your most valuable assets. It takes endless work and a lot of dedication to grow a business and have it become successful. The last thing you want is to have half of it taken away when you get a divorce. Everything you and your spouse have together must be divided before you can finalize your divorce -- and that can include businesses and professional practices. Do not worry -- there are things you can do to make sure your business remains in your possession. Here are five ways you can protect your business during your divorce:

1. Get a Fair Valuation

The first step you should take before you begin dividing up your assets is to get a valuation of your business, so you know what it is worth. Instead of estimating what your business is worth, you may opt to use a court-appointed evaluator who will look at multiple facets of your business to arrive at a valuation. Such aspects include your business records, the business’ goodwill, and business competition. Then, you can hire an outside professional to review the numbers just to make sure everything is square.

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Naperville asset division divorce lawyerToday, nearly three million ex-spouses within the United States earn Social Security benefits from their former spouse's work records. If you or your ex have Social Security benefits and are officially divorced, you may want to know what rights you have under the law. Additionally, if you are considering divorce, you will want to understand what your spouse is likely to claim in the future. This information can directly impact the divorce judgment with regards to property division and support claims. Consider the following regulations:

Length of Marriage

According to the United States Social Security Administration, if you are divorced, but your marriage lasted at least ten years, an ex-spouse can receive benefits from another spouse’s record. An ex-spouse is still eligible even if the benefiting spouse has remarried. However, if the non-benefitting ex remarried, they can no longer make a claim, unless their new marriage ends, either by death, divorce, or annulment.

Qualifications

A divorced spouse has “divorced spouse benefits” equal to one-half of their spouse's retirement or disability benefits. An ex must meet the following qualifications:

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Wheaton divorce attorneyIt is no secret that money and finances are at the heart of many marital struggles. However, a recent study indicates that student loan debt is responsible for destroying a significant number of marriages. If these debts are to blame for a rift between you and your spouse, you are not alone. Fortunately, in marriage, you have a built-in partner to help you deal with the problem.

This article discusses both the statistics of student loan and divorce, as well as how you can avoid becoming part of this statistic:

An Unaffordable Necessity

In the generations before us, college and post-graduate education was an affordable addition to primary education; although, most high school graduates were able to find a stable career right out of school. Today, even entry-level positions may require some higher learning. Unfortunately, when demand increased for knowledge so did the cost. What once was an affordable option, is now an unaffordable necessity.

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