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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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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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Naperville prenup lawyerIn recent years, prenuptial agreements have been on the rise. What once was only for the rich and famous is now being utilized by people from all walks of life. The idea of a prenuptial agreement used to be taboo -- it was thought you should not be planning for your divorce before you are even married. Now, it is thought to be good planning to have a prenuptial agreement. 

Young people are waiting longer to get married and are older than previous generations when they get married for the first time. This means that people are usually bringing more assets and debt into marriages and using prenuptial agreements to safeguard their finances. Prenuptial agreements are on the rise, but they may not be right for everyone. 

Here are a few situations in which you should consider getting a prenuptial agreement:

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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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