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Preparing Your Finances for an Illinois DivorceFor many people, getting a divorce is the most difficult thing they have ever had to do or experience in their lives. Getting a divorce uproots your entire life after you have gotten used to it for years or even decades. Divorces not only spell emotional turmoil, but they can also wreak havoc on your finances if you are not careful. Many people often underestimate the effect a divorce will have on their finances or simply make poor decisions because they are under pressure. One way to avoid making these mistakes and to set yourself up for success after your divorce is by preparing before you even begin the divorce process.

Know What You Are Working With

Before you do anything, your first task is to take inventory of everything that you own. You should take stock of all assets and have all pertinent documents on hand, including:

  • Savings and checking account statements;
  • Brokerage account statements;
  • Pension and Social Security statements;
  • Property deeds and car titles; and
  • Any physical property you own, such as household items.

Do not forget to also take inventory of any liabilities or debts you may have. Gather all documents pertaining to these, such as:

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DuPage County divorce asset division attorneyWhen you are married, your assets become intertwined with your spouse. This can be a good thing that brings much convenience as a married couple, but it can become a huge nightmare if you get a divorce. Before your divorce can be finalized, you and your spouse must come to an agreement over many things, one of them being who gets what property. If you and your spouse cannot come to an agreement on your own, a judge may have to intervene. He or she will follow a specific set of guidelines that are contained in the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) when determining how to divide marital property.

Marital vs. Non-Marital Property

Before anything can be split up, it must be determined what is and is not subject to division. According to the IMDMA, any and all property, including debts and other obligations acquired by either spouse during the marriage, is marital property and is subject to division. Non-marital property is not subject to division in a divorce and includes:

  • Property that a spouse acquired by gift, legacy, or descent or property acquired in exchange for that property
  • Property acquired by either spouse before the marriage or property acquired in exchange for that property
  • Property acquired by either spouse after a legal separation
  • Property excluded as written in a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement

Factors to Consider in Property Division Decisions

Once it is determined what is considered marital or non-marital property, then the judge will distribute the marital property between the two spouses. The judge is not allowed to make decisions based on marital conduct, but will consider, among other relevant issues, the following factors:

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Will County asset division attorneyWhen a couple marries, they not only join their lives but also their wealth and assets. If you and your spouse are considering getting a divorce, you may have questions about how your accumulated property will be divided. Some states automatically divide marital property exactly in half, but Illinois courts use a more nuanced process for determining how marital property is split between divorcing spouses. If you plan to get a divorce in Illinois, you should know how assets are divided according to the state’s equitable distribution laws.

Differentiating Between Marital Property and Non-Marital Property 

Only marital property is divided during a divorce. Assets acquired during the marriage by either spouse are considered marital property, with exceptions for inheritances, certain gifts, and property addressed in a valid prenuptial agreement. Non-marital or separate property generally includes assets acquired by either spouse before the marriage or after separation. However, it is important to note that assets acquired before the marriage which have been commingled with the other spouses’ assets may be considered marital property during divorce. 

In Illinois divorces, marital property is divided in a way that is just and reasonable based on each spouse’s circumstances. This division method differs from the property division methods of other states in that marital property is not always evenly divided. For example, Illinois courts may be more likely to award the family home to the spouse who will have more parental responsibilities.

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