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IL divorce lawyerWhen you first begin the divorce process, you will likely be advised to come up with a list of issues that matter the most to you -- the ones that you are adamant about fighting for. What is on that list? For some people, their finances are at the top of their list of concerns. The way your finances are handled during your divorce could significantly impact your financial situation after the fact and for years to come.

The first step in successfully managing your finances during your divorce is taking an actual inventory of everything that you and your spouse own. This includes both physical items such as vehicles and jewelry and immaterial items, like bank accounts or retirement funds. Ensuring you have an accurate picture of your financial situation before any decisions are made is crucial. Here are a few tips to help you inventory your assets:

Make a List of Common Assets

Firstly, make a list of any assets that you and your spouse both have ownership to. This should include both physical and immaterial items that are considered marital property and subject to division during the divorce. Physical items can include things such as real estate, vehicles, artwork, or other important and/or expensive assets. Other items that you will want to include on the list are things such as bank accounts, retirement accounts, gym memberships, airline miles, or other immaterial items.

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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 lawyerWhen a couple decides to get married, they usually agree to share what they own. If the marriage were to end in divorce, the marital estate is divided under the equitable distribution doctrine. Unlike community property states, which divide the couple's assets in a 50/50 division, Illinois law says the couple's assets need to be divided equitably based on certain factors. Some of these factors include:

  • How long the couple was married
  • Each spouse's contribution to the marital estate
  • The value of the assets
  • What each spouse's financial circumstances will be after the divorce
  • Tax implications
  • Whether spousal support will be paid
One factor that usually supersedes all other factors is whether the couple had a valid prenuptial agreement. A prenuptial agreement is a legal contract entered into by the couple prior to the marriage which stipulates how assets and property will be divided in the event the couple divorces. The agreement can also address any outstanding debt the couple has and spousal support/maintenance. Although it is recommended that every couple draw up a prenuptial agreement before the wedding, many couples choose not to. The good news for those couples is that Illinois law also recognizes postnuptial agreements. Postnuptial agreements address the same terms and/or issues that prenuptial agreements do. The only difference is that the agreement is entered into at some point after the couple has married.

Reasons Why Married Couples Choose to Sign a Postnuptial Agreement

In certain marital situations, signing a postnuptial agreement is highly recommended. Typically, postnuptial agreements are established because of the following:

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divorceDivorce can bring on a rush of emotions and leave a person going through the process not thinking clearly. There is so much to think about that many assets may be overlooked. Both spouses are legally required to be upfront about their assets. Although there are often cases in which a spouse purposely hides assets, some items are quite simply forgotten when it comes time to divide up everything in a divorce.

Where to Begin with Property Division

Most people probably have no problem coming up with a list of assets and debts that will have to be split in their divorce. On the asset side, think bank accounts, the family home, cars, and investments. On the debt side, think mortgages, loans, and credit cards. These can be split evenly, or couples may have different ideas for who will get what. An experienced divorce attorney can help you iron out a fair deal in your divorce and can assist in making sure you do not forget about any other valuable items that you may be entitled to.

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