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IL divorce lawyerGetting a divorce brings about all kinds of issues that you must deal with, both emotionally and financially. Though the emotional side can be difficult to manage, the financial side has a lot of bearing on how your life will turn out in the future. Financial issues can be especially important for older couples who are nearing the age of retirement. Retirement accounts are assets that are usually quite valuable to both spouses, setting the stage for disagreements over how the assets will be divided. Ignoring or forgetting your retirement accounts during your divorce could spell disaster for your financial future. If you are getting a divorce, be sure to take these necessary precautions to help protect your retirement plans.

Understand What You Are Working With

Before you make any decisions, you should fully understand what type of retirement accounts you and your spouse have and the rules that govern each account. Common retirement accounts include employer-sponsored plans such as a 401(k) and individual retirement accounts such as an IRA. Each type of plan has its own rules, especially when it comes to dividing and distributing the funds.

Speaking with a financial adviser can help you figure out how you should divide your plans and how you can do so while avoiding any penalties or tax repercussions. A financial adviser will also be able to help you make sure you understand your financial portfolio so you can make informed decisions.

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Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer, IL child custody lawyer, IL spouse's infidelity lawyerIt can be devastating to those who decide to get a divorce because of their spouse’s infidelity. Marital infidelity can cause feelings of sadness, hurt, anger, despair, and anguish, which can all cause the divorce process to be even more stressful and combative than your average divorce. If you are divorcing because of infidelity, you may be wondering whether or not your spouse’s adultery could give you an advantage in your divorce. While the answer is typically “no,” there are certain areas and aspects of your divorce that could be affected by a spouse’s infidelity.

Wasted Assets During an Affair

When it comes to asset and property division during a divorce, Illinois is considered an equitable division state. This means that each spouse will receive a share of the marital estate that is considered to be fair and just but does not always mean each spouse will receive half of everything. In regard to infidelity, the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) specifically states that the court, “shall divide the marital property without regard to marital misconduct in just proportions…” which means that a spouse's infidelity will not be a deciding factor at all.

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Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer, IL child custody lawyerThe “dream” divorce, if there is such a thing, is one in which both spouses are amicable with each other, still respect one another, and are willing to work together. While this may be a reality for a lucky few, the majority of divorces are going to involve some degree of animosity between the spouses. In some cases, the tension between the spouses can get so bad that a spouse will do anything in his or her power to keep their soon-to-be-ex from getting their fair share of marital assets. In these cases, the spouse may do what is considered marital asset dissipation.

What is Dissipation?

The Illinois Supreme Court defines dissipation as the “use of marital property for the sole benefit of one of the spouses for a purpose unrelated to the marriage at a time the marriage at a time the marriage is undergoing an irretrievable breakdown.” Dissipation can include intentional wasting, spending, destroying or otherwise squandering marital assets for the simple purpose of depriving the other spouse of the asset. Examples of dissipation can include:

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Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer, IL legal separation lawyerIllinois is an equitable distribution state, meaning that when you get a divorce, not everything you and your spouse acquired, such as property and assets, will be divided equally.

If you and your spouse cannot come to an agreement on how to divide your property and assets and decide to take your divorce to court, the judge will consider certain marital circumstances on how to divide your property, such as:

However, if your spouse is hiding assets from you in hopes they will not have to split it with you, things can get even more complicated.

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Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer, Illinois collaborative divorce lawyerSome people may not realize that money they put into a retirement account, like a 401(k) or IRA, during their marriage is not theirs alone. When the marriage ends in divorce, those retirement funds will likely need to be split just like every other asset and debt the couple has acquired while they were married. In order to avoid paying large fees on a retirement plan withdrawal, the couple will likely need a QDRO (qualified domestic relations order). An attorney can help walk the parties through the process, as it can get a little bit complicated.

What Is a QDRO?

A QDRO is an official decree, which must be approved by a judge, that orders one party to transfer funds from his or her retirement plan to the other divorcing party. Information that must be included in the QDRO includes the plan participant’s name and either a specific amount or percentage of the benefits that are to be paid to the other party.

The party who is receiving the funds must then receive the money as if he or she was the owner of the plan. Then the payee may use the money as needed, which will result in taxes charged to the receiver of the money, or he or she may roll it over into another plan, which makes the transaction tax-free.

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