Things To Make Sure Your Attorney Includes In Your Divorce Settlement
Divorce is a complex and painful situation, but you are not alone. Time reports that 39% of marriages in the US end in divorce. Creating a settlement agreement representing your best interests is one of the most essential parts of a divorce. Some compromise is inevitable, but getting the divorce settlement right will give you the best start in your new life on your own or with a new partner. If you have questions after reading this article, contact the divorce attorneys in Schaumburg at the Law Office of Fedor Kozlov, P.C. for assistance with your divorce settlement.
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Illinois Is An Equitable Division State For Divorce
In a divorce in Illinois, the law states there must be an equitable division of marital property. This means the judge will divide the marital assets as somewhat as possible based on many factors, but it does not necessarily mean a 50/50 split. One spouse could receive considerably more in marital property than the other, depending on each party’s circumstances and financial means. Some factors considered when dividing marital property are the length of the marriage, earning potential of each spouse, children, and any prenuptial agreements that are in effect.
Furthermore, Illinois is a no-fault divorce state, meaning the division of marital property does not consider why the divorce happened. So, for example, if one spouse committed adultery, the divorce agreement will not consider this fact. The only exception is if one spouse committed financial misconduct or fraud. For example, if one spouse used marital funds to buy gifts for a mistress, the divorce court will order that spouse to reimburse the other party.
What Should Not Be Forgotten In The Divorce Settlement
Every divorce is different, so every divorce settlement agreement will be, too. Your divorce attorney in Schaumburg is the best resource to guide you in negotiating the divorce terms. That said, most people should ensure the following topics are well covered in the divorce settlement:
Illinois has rules for giving financial support to one of the spouses after a separation or divorce. The divorce court may award alimony so that both parties start on a fair financial footing as the marriage is ended. Some of the factors that will be considered by the judge when determining alimony are:
- The earning ability of each spouse
- The standard of living during the marriage
- How much time each spouse dedicated to taking care of the home and children
- The assets and debts of each party, including separate property
- How long the marriage was
- How old each spouse is
- The ability of the spouse receiving alimony to obtain employment
- Whether either party needs to obtain training or education to obtain employment
- Whether the party paying alimony can afford to do so
If you are receiving alimony, make sure you receive financial support long enough to get the training and education you need to make a living. In addition, if you are paying alimony, be sure that the divorce settlement considers any previous child support or alimony obligations you have from a previous relationship.
Child Support And Custody
If there are children in the marriage, the divorce agreement will state who receives custody and how much child support will be. The divorce settlement should also spell out the child visitation schedule and remember holidays and vacations. Another common thing that needs to be remembered is what happens if the parent with custody moves out of state. If you do not have child custody and want to take the children out of state, the divorce agreement also should mention this.
If you share custody with your spouse, a co-parenting schedule can be set up in the divorce settlement in many ways. The key is ensuring the co-parenting schedule is clearly stated so disagreements are minimized. Some examples of a co-parenting schedule are:
- One week on and off for each parent
- Two weeks on and off with each parent
- Every other weekend and alternating weeknights with each parent
- Three days with one parent, four days with the other, then reversed
- Two days on and off with each parent, which can be better with small children
Couples in Illinois must divide their debts as well as assets. While couples can overlook assets, it is even easier to do so with obligations. After all, who wants to think about debt?
Be sure to pull a copy of your credit report and find every debt that is listed in your name. All debts should be accounted for in the divorce settlement. If some debts are only in the other party’s name, that should not be in the agreement.
Many couples can save money in a divorce by talking to a CPA to reduce their tax liability after the divorce. Also, consider what the after-tax value of assets are when they are divided. Finally, your divorce settlement should divide any anticipated tax refunds.
Inflation has become more concerning in recent years, so the value of some assets and costs of expenses should consider this factor. For instance, if you agree to cover your son’s college expenses, the divorce agreement should reflect that college tuition and expenses could be much higher in 10 years.
All Marital Assets And Debts
The divorce settlement should have a complete listing of all real estate, bank accounts, personal property, and retirement accounts. If anything has been forgotten, bring it up with your attorney.
Death Of The Spouse Paying Alimony
If one spouse is receiving alimony, the divorce agreement should state what will happen if they die. It also should stipulate the consequences if the paying spouse defaults on alimony payments. Consider asking for a smaller amount of money in a lump sum or in a shorter period.
Assets That Are Not Obvious
Concealing assets from each other is against the law during a divorce. However, that does not mean it never happens. For example, in some situations, one spouse may need to remember about assets that are not obvious, such as frequent flyer miles and previous retirement accounts. Or, one spouse may take illegal steps to hide assets. Therefore, you should make sure your attorney knows about all of your assets and that they are taken into consideration in the divorce settlement. These include:
- Interest in second home or vacation property
- Money in cryptocurrency accounts
- Trust accounts
- Life insurance
- Rewards from credit cards
- Creative property and intellectual property
- Anything in safety deposit boxes
The divorce settlement must consider the tax implications of selling the home. Any real estate that was purchased by both of you is usually regarded as marital property and will be split 50/50 in a divorce. You can divide or transfer those funds in many ways; each can affect taxes.
If one of the spouses continues to live in the marital home with the children, this should be reflected in the equitable division of property agreement. The spouse not living in the home may receive more in other marital property as compensation.
What Assets Are Really Worth
The divorce settlement should reflect what the marital property is really worth. For instance, if the marital home has yet to be appraised, now is a good time to do it. There could have been a major price fluctuation, and the house could be worth more than you think. Also, logging onto Zillow and getting a fast home value is not a valid way to determine your house’s worth. Also, the value of art, antiques, jewelry, etc., are challenging to assess accurately, so be certain they are fairly valued in the settlement agreement.
Understand The Entire Divorce Settlement
The divorce settlement document will probably be long and complicated. It contains many legal terms, and it will have a major effect on your life balance. If you need clarification on any aspect of the settlement, talk to your Schaumburg divorce attorney. Also, the settlement could contain a mistake or something that does reflect your best interests or desires. Asking questions before the divorce document is finalized is the best way to avoid difficulty and heartache later.
Furthermore, as you review the divorce settlement agreement, consider whether it is something you can afford over time. For example, the settlement may make sense for the next two or three years, but will you make the same amount in five or 10 years? Also, determine if the settlement will allow you to live comfortably in the future, or if you need to adjust your lifestyle. If there is any question about the financial viability of the settlement, bring it up with your attorney before the agreement is finalized.
Speak To Our Divorce Attorneys In Schaumburg
Getting a divorce settlement right is tricky. If your attorney is not careful, you could wind up with less marital property than you deserve and other problems. The divorce lawyers at the Law Office of Fedor Kozlov, P.C. will ensure your divorce settlement is written in a way that is most advantageous to you. Please contact our divorce attorneys in Schaumburg now at (847) 241-1299 for a complimentary consultation.