For many couples, dividing assets after a divorce is one of the most troublesome aspects of a separation. Matters such as retirement accounts, property division, and hidden assets can all arise as spouses begin to address and uncover the financial hurdles before them. It is only natural to be concerned about the money you have saved, the debts you have accumulated, the property you have acquired, and how your impending divorce will affect those areas.
The Distribution of Property and Debts Under Illinois Law
There are numerous laws that govern the division of assets when it comes to divorce. In general, Illinois law considers all property, including debts and other obligations, to be “marital property.” There are certain exceptions under this law, but nearly everything that was acquired by either spouse during the marriage is typically considered joint property.
Pension benefits, such as individual retirement accounts and 401(k)s, are also presumed to be marital property if they were obtained or participated in by either spouse during the marriage. In short, retirement assets count in the division of assets in an Illinois divorce. Pension or other investments made before the marriage are not considered marital property and cannot be divided during the divorce.
Protecting Your Assets
When it comes to the division of retirement assets, in particular, it can be difficult to determine how much is owed to you and how those values can be evenly (and fairly) split between you and your spouse. The actual values of any pension benefits are determined by valuation procedures established under the Illinois Pension Code. Spouses may challenge the presumption that such benefits are marital property if they can furnish clear and convincing evidence that the benefits were acquired under special circumstances that would somehow be considered an exception of some sort.
Whether you have concerns about your retirement assets or other various benefits, such as savings plans, 401(k)s, stocks and bonds, or IRAs, speak with an experienced Elmhurst, IL divorce attorney. Hiring a lawyer is an important step in understanding and protecting your rights in regards to your assets. Call Weiss-Kunz & Oliver, LLC today at 312-605-4041 for a personal consultation.