What Is Equitable Distribution of Assets Between Spouses in Illinois?
Marital property division or asset distribution is one of the most contentious parts of a divorce. In Illinois, couples who decide to split up can divide their property independently. However, in the event the former couple cannot reach a consensus regarding the division of assets, you can hire Schaumburg asset division attorneys and let the court decide.
What Is Equitable Property Division?
Most states divide marital assets and debts 50/50 between divorcing couples, but not Illinois. After considering a range of factors, the state recognizes equitable property division to determine a fair and reasonable split that is not straight down the middle. Equitable property division between high net worth couples, or those who own complex assets, is complicated.
If you are going through a divorce in Illinois, here are some factors about equitable property division you should keep in mind:
It Only Applies To Marital Property
According to the Illinois Marriage and Marriage Dissolution Act, a divorcing couple’s assets fall into two categories – marital and separate assets. However, only the former is subject to equitable distribution. So when you are preparing to split up, ask your Schaumburg asset division attorneys to help you determine which assets can be divided this way.
Marital property refers to all property acquired by a spouse or spouses during the marriage, and a judgment is passed even after a dissolution of marriage. This includes non-marital assets transferred into a co-ownership arrangement between them, whether the title is held individually or jointly.
In other words, we can say that most assets that you get during your marriage will be considered as marital property by the Illinois court. There are some exceptions to this rule that your attorney can help you understand before distribution.
It Doesn’t Mean ‘Equal’ Distribution
As mentioned before, equitable doesn’t mean an equal split down the middle. The concept is simple – as opposed to equal distribution, equitable distribution ensures circumstances are taken into account that makes a 50/50 asset split improbable.
As per Illinois law, some of the factors that can help you determine an equitable distribution of marital property include the following:
Contributions from Each Spouse during the Marriage
You and your spouse may have contributed to marital assets through an income or investments. However, other contributions that preserved family finances and the home’s value in a way that increased asset value are also considered.
Circumstances of Each Spouse
The court will also look at the circumstances of each spouse before dividing assets equitably. This includes individual incomes and other financial resources both own. For instance, if one of them makes more than the other, the latter may receive a larger share of the marital estate, but they will have to sacrifice spousal support for it.
The decision is also based on the spouse’s age, health, employment status, debts, and work experience. The court also considers the job opportunities that each of them will have and their ability to get assets in the future.
Decisions Based On Child-Rearing
If you have children with your spouse, child custody decisions will impact property division as well. The parent who has sole or major custody may get certain assets to help them take care of them. At this point, if you are not the custodial parent, you should also determine whether the children will remain in the family home or will be moved elsewhere.
Your decisions about property division will affect the taxes both, you and your spouse, owe. For instance, if you sell assets such as your home during the divorce, you may have to pay the capital gains tax. Discuss these tax implications with your attorney or a financial expert before taking the plunge.
How to Address Different Types of Marital Property
Some of the types of marital property you and your spouse may have to divide equitably during your divorce include the following:
Investments and Money
This includes financial account funds depending on how they are allocated between you two. Make sure you understand the value of any bonds, stocks, or other investments you have between you. That way, you will be able to divide the assets in a way that can protect your and your spouse’s financial interests.
When your family home, vacation home, or any commercial property is under consideration, first evaluate the market value of that real estate and how you want to handle ownership post-divorce. If you want to own your home, for example, the other spouse will have to be removed from the title. Plus, any mortgage will have to be refinanced in your name. However, make sure you can afford the upkeep, utilities, property taxes, and mortgage payments before deciding.
If you own a family business with your spouse, the marital property should be divided in a way that will allow you to maintain ownership. It should be evaluated by a professional. It will help you and your spouse understand the existing and future value of your business assets.
If you are the sole owner of the business, your spouse may be granted marital assets that are equal in value. However, if both you and your spouse operate and run the business together, you will need to decide how to co-own it and work as partners post-divorce. If you cannot agree, you can sell the business and divide the proceeds between yourself.
If you share a vehicle with your spouse regularly, you can decide to co-own it with them. If you own multiple vehicles that vary in value, the court will distribute marital assets accordingly. Besides cars, this also includes boats, motorcycles, ATVs, etc.
Pricey valuables will need to be appraised to ensure both you and your spouse understand their worth. Besides jewelry, this includes collectibles, artwork, sports memorabilia, antique furniture, designer clothes, etc. Items that have sentimental and monetary value should be divided personally. Decide which items are important to you while ensuring an equitable share of the remaining marital assets.
Pensions and Retirement Accounts
You can determine your future needs and the resources that can support you in old age by understanding the value of your pension and retirement accounts. Use a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) to ensure that these remain tax-free and don’t come with costly penalties for fund withdrawal before you are old enough to retire.
You and your partner may have accumulated some debts during your marriage. Besides credit card debt, this can also include mortgage and car loans. Both of you will be equally responsible for repaying those debts. Creditors will come after you both, even if a debt is allocated to only one of you. The best thing to do is to pay off as much of the debts as possible before the divorce or discuss how you will handle it with your spouse after it.
Marital Property Division is Based on Compromise
The fact is that compromise is the foundation of equitable asset distribution. Neither of you will be 100% happy with what you get later.
Both of you will have to give up some things you don’t want to let go of when it comes to some assets in exchange for ownership of other assets. For example, if your ex wants to remain in the family home, you can balance things out by keeping the vacation home. Determine your priorities and work with your spouse to come to amicable agreements that can work for both of you. Just make sure that you keep your Schaumburg asset division attorneys in the loop.
Contact The Law Office Of Fedor Kozlov For A Consultation Today
A divorce can be one of the most difficult experiences you can go through, but equitable asset division comes a close second. These disputes can create emotional and financial issues that can hound you for the rest of your life. At this time, you need professional and compassionate Schaumburg Asset Division Attorneys in your corner who can protect your best interests.
So contact the Law Office of Fedor Kozlov by dialing (847) 241-1299 and book a free consultation today. We can help you get through this tough challenge by presenting legal options that can work in your favor. Our lawyers can also help your family and resolve conflicts to set a foundation that can help you begin your post-divorce life on a positive note.
Our success is based on a friendly approach. We are not afraid to go up against powerful opponents or tough lawyers. Our priority is your satisfaction and happiness. We will work closely with you to develop solutions that can have long-lasting positive repercussions for your future. Most of our clients come to us through recommendations or references from past clients who are happy with our service, especially regarding asset distribution.
The longer you wait, the more time your spouse has to ruin you financially with their lawyer. You cannot rely on them at this time. Their attorneys will ensure they make decisions that will benefit them only, even if it means bleeding you dry. It is imperative that you seek counsel from us as soon as possible. Contact us today before it is too late.