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Elmhurst family law attorney for prenuptial agreements

Prenuptial agreements: Are any other legal documents subject to more controversy and misunderstanding? Prenuptial agreements, also called premarital agreements or “prenups,” are legal contracts that a couple signs before getting married. Many people grossly misunderstand the purpose of a prenuptial agreement. They assume that only couples who do not believe in the longevity of their marriage would sign a prenuptial agreement or that prenups are only used by wealthy husbands to prevent their wives from pocketing their wealth.

In reality, drafting a mutually beneficial prenuptial agreement is one of the most responsible and practical steps you can take before getting married. Prenups serve a wide range of purposes, including protecting both spouses’ property rights, avoiding stressful litigation in the event of divorce, and describing how property should be distributed if a spouse passes away.

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Chicago divorce attorney for hidden assetsAlthough we rarely think of marriage in these terms, spouses who get married enter into a financial partnership with each other. Consequently, a marriage represents much more than the romantic or personal connection between spouses. It also represents a melding of the spouses’ finances. Per Illinois law, spouses are entitled to an equitable portion of the marital estate during divorce. Unfortunately, the process of allocating marital property between spouses in a divorce becomes much more complicated when a spouse lies about finances. 

If you are getting divorced, it is essential to understand your rights regarding the division of marital property, child support, spousal maintenance, and other divorce issues. If you suspect that your spouse is lying about finances or may attempt to hide assets during your divorce, contact a divorce attorney for help right away.

Understanding Illinois Law Regarding Marital Assets and Divorce

Illinois is an “equitable distribution” state with regard to the division of assets during a divorce. This means that by law, you have a right to an “equitable” or fair share of the property contained in the marital estate. Most of the property and liabilities accumulated by either spouse during the marriage fall into the category of “marital property.” Marital property often includes bank account balances, retirement funds, investments, real estate, vehicles, and household items like furniture. Complex assets like stock options, mutual funds, businesses, and professional practices may also fall into the category of marital property. If an asset is considered marital property, both spouses are entitled to a share of the asset’s value.

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Elmhurst, IL high net worth divorce attorney for business valuation and hidden assetsThe divorce process can be complicated regardless of a couple’s circumstances. Spouses may be involved in contentious disputes related to any or all of the issues that will need to be resolved before they can legally dissolve their marriage. Even if a couple agrees on most of the issues in their divorce and plans to avoid conflict wherever possible, they may still encounter difficulties related to their property, incomes, and finances. This is especially true in high net worth divorce cases where spouses own valuable assets or earn high incomes. In these cases, spouses will need to address a variety of unique financial concerns. It is crucial for spouses to secure representation by an attorney who is experienced in high asset divorce cases, and with the right lawyer on their side, they can make sure their legal and financial concerns will be addressed correctly.

Property Division Issues

All divorcing couples will need to decide how they will divide their marital property, which consists of all assets and debts they acquired during their marriage. This can be an especially complex process for couples who have a high net worth, since they are likely to own a wide variety of different types of physical property and financial assets. These may include:

  • Real estate - In addition to their marital home, a couple may own vacation homes or other real estate property. These properties should be appraised to determine their value and the amount of equity the spouses own in each property. It may not be possible to equally divide these properties between the spouses, so it may be necessary to sell certain properties during divorce.

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IL divorce lawyerMany people have looked at sweet, elderly couples and romanticized their decades-long marriages, lamenting a social era that is often said to no longer exist. If you were to ask someone if they thought the divorce rate was increasing or decreasing in the United States, what do you think they would say? Many people would likely say the divorce rate has been increasing for years when in reality, it is the opposite. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that the national divorce rate has decreased from a rate of four out of every 1,000 couples in 2000 to only 2.9 out of every 1,000 couples in 2018. Interestingly enough, when you look at the divorce rates for the different age groups, the groups whose divorce rates are growing the quickest are adults over the age of 50. In fact, the Pew Research Center reported that the divorce rate doubled for adults over the age of 50 and roughly tripled for adults over the age of 65 between 1990 and 2015.

When it comes down to it, divorce is an emotionally stressful process and will be difficult at any age. However, when you get a divorce later in life, there are certain issues that you should pay extra attention to that a younger person may not necessarily have as high on their list of priorities, such as retirement accounts and spousal support. Getting a divorce after the age of 50 also often means there are more property and/or debt issues that must be taken care of before the divorce can be settled. In many cases, a late-in-life divorce, or a “gray divorce,” as they have been dubbed, can become a headache of a legal mess that is best cleaned up by an Illinois divorce attorney who is knowledgeable in the issues that may present in a gray divorce.

Why Are Gray Divorces Becoming More Common?

There have been many theories as to why gray divorces have been increasing in rate in recent years. Many individuals who get divorced when they are over the age of 50 have been married for decades and in some cases, more than half of their lives. It can be hard for some people to grasp why a person would want to leave a relationship after so many years, but researchers have found a couple of common themes:

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IL family lawyerLike many Americans, your vehicle is probably one of the most important and valuable things that you own. In today’s world, many families have multiple vehicles to get them from one place to another. In the event of a divorce, deciding who gets the vehicles can often be straightforward, but there are certain issues that should be addressed before the final decision is made. Consider these things when making decisions about how to divide your vehicles in a divorce:

  • Is the vehicle separate or marital property? The first thing that you should consider when dividing your vehicles is whether the vehicles are marital or nonmarital property. If you purchased the vehicle before you were married, then it is considered nonmarital property and you keep the vehicle. If you purchased the vehicle while you were married, then the vehicle must be allocated to one of you.
  • What is the market value of the vehicle? When dividing your property, it can be useful to know the monetary value of your assets. When it comes to vehicles, one vehicle might be worth more than another because of the age or features of the vehicle. This can be used as a bargaining chip for other assets to make up the difference between the two.
  • Do you still owe money for the vehicle? Another consideration is whether or not you and your spouse are still paying on a loan for the vehicle. If you and your spouse cosigned on an auto loan, you are both legally responsible for paying off that loan. It is generally agreed that the spouse who keeps the vehicle is the spouse to continue paying for the vehicle.
  • Who gets the vehicles? Determining who gets what vehicle can be a straightforward process if you and your spouse each have your own vehicles. If you have more than one vehicle, you can award the vehicles by value or you can come to another agreement with your spouse.

Our Skilled Elmhurst, IL Property Division Lawyers Can Help

If you are going through a divorce, you may be wondering how you should divide your marital property. This can be a long and tedious process, with vehicles just being one facet. At Weiss-Kunz & Oliver, LLC, we are here to help you fight for your rightful portion of your marital estate. Call our knowledgeable DuPage County property division attorneys today at 312-605-4041 to schedule a consultation.

 

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