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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 divorce finances attorneyIf someone were to ask you right now how much money you would need each month to live comfortably, do you think you could give them an accurate number? Most people have no idea how much money they actually need to survive each month or how much they actually spend, even if they do have a budget. However, when you go to get a divorce, it is important to have an idea of your spending habits and financial needs, as it will be one of the questions that your attorney will bring up when discussing issues including spousal support and asset division. Most of the time, people will significantly underestimate or overestimate what they actually need to live a comfortable life or to maintain the lifestyle that they had during their marriage. A lifestyle analysis can help to ensure that you are prepared for life after your divorce is final.

Components of a Lifestyle Analysis

The goal of a lifestyle analysis is to produce a report that contains all of you and your spouse’s recent financial information. The analysis will also establish a basis for what your standard of living was during your marriage, and it may help to identify any issues or discrepancies. Information in your lifestyle analysis may include:

  • Personal tax returns from at least the past three years for both you and your spouse, along with business tax returns if either of you owns a business

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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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Naperville divorce attorneyIf you have not previously been divorced, then you understandably do not know what the divorce process actually entails. Everything that you know about the divorce process probably comes from what you have heard from your friends, family members, coworkers, and other people who have talked about their experience with divorce. While it can be helpful to have support from loved ones, you should speak to an Illinois divorce lawyer for the truth about any topics that may be of concern to you. Here are a few common myths that still exist about divore and the truths behind those myths:

You Must State a Reason For Your Divorce

Just a couple of years ago, the state of Illinois changed its divorce laws immensely. One of those changes was removing the option of choosing fault or naming a reason for the divorce. Now, the only legal reason stated for getting a divorce is irreconcilable differences which caused an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. 

Property is Always Divided 50/50

This is one of the biggest misconceptions that people have about divorce. The most logical thing would be for each spouse to receive half of the couple’s assets and debts, but that is not how it always works out. The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) states that property is always divided in an equitable manner in Illinois. This means that a variety of factors are looked at when dividing property and one spouse may end up walking away with more assets or debts than the other.

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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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Wheaton asset division lawyer business valuationDuring a divorce, one of the biggest issues you must deal with is the asset division process. Everything that you and your spouse own together must be allocated between the two of you during this process. Illinois is an equitable division state, which means marital property should be divided in a fair manner. However, fair does not always mean equal. Most assets are easy to define and allocate, but what happens when you or your spouse own a business or a private practice that you must address?

Options For Your Business

Before you make any decisions, you should get a fair valuation of your business. It is important to know exactly what your business is worth before you start figuring out how to deal with it. There are various methods you can use to determine the value of your business. Your divorce attorney should be able to recommend an appraiser who can offer advice about your valuation.

When it comes to your business and your divorce, there are three main options that you have to choose from. You can buy out your spouse’s share of the business, you can remain co-owners, or you can sell your business. Each option has its own benefits, but your best option depends on your specific situation.

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Wheaton asset division attorneyWhen you get a divorce, one of the most difficult subjects to handle is the division of property between you and your spouse. Not only can it fuel the emotional side of divorce, but property division can become complicated when trying to determine what to do with specific assets and how to make the division as fair and equitable as possible. There are a variety of factors that come into play when determining how marital property is divided.

Dividing Real Property

Some of the most complicated issues arise when it comes time to determine how real estate property is divided. Because a home cannot be physically split in half, couples sometimes have to get creative when distributing the value of this property. Spouses typically have three choices when it comes to dealing with the home: selling it and splitting the profits, keeping it in one spouse’s name while that spouse “buys out” the other spouse's share, or continuing to jointly own the home.

Dangers of Continued Joint Ownership

It is rarely a good idea to continue to jointly own property after a divorce. It is in your best interests to ensure that only your name is on the deeds or titles to any property that you are awarded in the asset division process.

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Wheaton property division lawyerFinancial issues are some of the most commonly-cited reasons for divorce. In some cases, one spouse may not have believed in overspending, while the other spouse was comfortable with leaving a balance on the credit card every month. In other situations, spouses may have disagreed about how much to spend on daily necessities or luxury items. Whatever the reason for the financial mismatch, tensions can increase when the decision to get a divorce is made. It is not uncommon in a marriage for one spouse to be the “go-to” spouse for all things money-related. In situations like these, it can be tempting, and rather easy, for that spouse to conceal or hide assets in hopes that they will not have to share them with the other spouse.

Protecting your finances during your divorce is extremely important, because it can dictate your financial health for the rest of your life. Even if you were the spouse in the marriage who did not handle the majority of the finances, you will want to make sure you are receiving your fair share of assets in the divorce. If you suspect your spouse might be hiding assets from you, here are a few ways you can uncover them:

Start With the Tax Returns

The first place you should begin looking for any financial wrongdoing is on your tax returns. If the tax returns contain itemized deductions, scan through them and see if anything jumps out. For example, a deduction for property taxes can reveal a hidden property. You should also pay attention to capital gains and losses, which can help you discover hidden real estate or stocks and bonds.

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Naperville property division attorneyGetting a divorce is never easy, especially when it comes time to dividing your marital property and assets. One of the most valuable and treasured things you and your spouse own is most likely your family home. Divvying up such a big and expensive asset can create contention, making the rest of the property division process uncomfortable. For many couples, the family home can be a sentimental asset, especially if you have raised children in the home. When it comes down to it, there are three basic options you can choose from when deciding what to do with the home: continue co-owning the home, sell the home and split the proceeds, or allow one spouse to “buy out” the other spouse.

Co-Own the Home With Your Spouse

For some couples, keeping things just the way they are is the most beneficial option. If you have children who want to stay in the home, it can be helpful to keep the home ownership under both of your names. This can also be an option for spouses who cannot agree on what to do with the home or who want to defer decision-making regarding the home until a later date, such as when children have graduated from high school.

Sell Your Home and Split the Profits

The most popular option that couples choose when getting a divorce is selling the family home and dividing the proceeds that come from the sale. This is typically the easiest way to deal with the home, but it can have certain consequences. If your house has appreciated significantly, you may have to pay capital gains taxes on the sale, which must be paid when you file your income taxes. Divorcing couples who decide that this option is best will also have to take the time to find new living arrangements.

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