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property settlement, Lombard family law attorneysNo matter how much—or how little—you and your spouse may own, figuring out who should get what during a divorce is probably not going to be easy. You may find that you both have an attachment to certain assets, such as the family home or a particular car, which may not lend themselves well to being divided between the two of you. Regardless of how divorce may be presented in movies and on television, yours does not need to be played out with open hostility in a courtroom brawl. Instead, you can develop an agreement that recognizes the contributions made by both you and your spouse to the marriage and allocates your property in a way that meets everyone’s needs.

Inventory Your Assets

The first step toward a workable property settlement is understanding what is to be included. This means taking stock of everything you own and owe. Assets include real estate, vehicles, furniture, business holdings, investments, and, of course, cash savings, among many others. Debts are also important part of the agreement, as they can follow both of you for years to come if they are not properly addressed.

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equitable distribution, Illinois law, Lombard property division lawyersThe short answer to that question is no. More accurately, the answer is not necessarily. Dividing property during divorce is a bit more complicated than simply splitting the marital estate in half. In fact, the word "half" does not appear anywhere in the statute governing the allocation of assets in the state. Instead, Illinois law is based on the principles of equitable distribution which look to justly allocate marital property based on the consideration of a number of factors.

Community Property States

The basis for most people’s assumption of splitting property in half is the community property concept currently in place in nine states, including Wisconsin, California, and Texas. These principles maintain that, in marriage, both partners equally own all marital assets and that each is entitled to half upon divorce. This applies regardless of employment considerations, contributions to the marriage or family, or any other seemingly relevant concerns. In many cases, spousal maintenance or alimony awards are used to compensate for such considerations.

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hidden assetsWhen a couple divorces, there are a number of issues to be considered. Spousal maintenance, child support, custody/visitation, and division of assets must all be negotiated to an extent by the court presiding over the proceedings. Many of these subjects can often turn contentious, as the relationship between divorcing partners deteriorates. This, unfortunately, can lead to one party to manipulate the circumstances in such a way that the divorce agreement disproportionately benefits that person. One way in which this might be attempted is by hiding financial or other assets from the other spouse.

Hiding assets can be serious problem, as many determinations in a divorce agreement are dependent on the financial situation of each spouse. Often including cash, bonds, mutual funds, stocks, and bonds, assets which are not disclosed to the court may affect resulting orders related to alimony (called spousal maintenance in Illinois) and child support. As such, a spouse intentionally hiding or disguising financial resources not only commits a serious crime, but also can negatively the impact the well-being the couple’s children.

In many marriages, one partner maintains the majority of the household finances. That partner, often the husband, keeps a household budget, pays the bills, and may even make financial decisions about purchases and investments. While the other partner may not feel the need to get deeply involved, a situation can be created in which it can be easy and tempting for the partner with monetary control to be deceptive and hide assets.

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People often consider pets to be family members.  That deep affection means that cats and dogs can be sore subjects during divorce cases.  Who should have custody of the family pet when they family has split?  The fact is that legally, pets are often looked at as property when dividing assets during a divorce.  There are certain facts that can be influence the decision of where Fido ends up.

The owner of the pet is often given precedence in any pet custody case.  It is similar to the determination of separate property or marital property.   If the pet was purchased before the marriage, then it may be considered a separate asset not subject to division.  But the initial purchase won’t be the only way to pay for a pet; there are also considerations about who pays for the pet&s food and medical expenses.

The other way that custody is decided is based on who provides care for the animal, much like when determining child custody.  That could mean that the person who takes the animal to the vet or the person who takes the animal for walks can have an easier time claiming pet custody.  Another way to show who the primary caregiver of a pet is who cares for the animal during the split.

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Posted on in Divorce

In most divorces, there are a multitude of different concerns which must be settled. Child custody might be the focal point in some cases.  Other times, the division of assets is the pivotal concern.  Most of these issues can be tackled in two separate ways, either emotionally or rationally.  The latter is the appropriate way to think about whether or not you should keep the house in a divorce.

The first step in answering the question about keeping the house in a divorce is to examine the financial specifics of the house.  How much is still due on the mortgage?  Would you be able to make monthly payments in order to keep the house?  What about other upkeep expenses to maintain the house?

Then it is essential to understand how your personal finances will be affected by owning a house separately from your ex.  It will be beneficial to refinance the debt on your house but it might be difficult to do with only one income.  Not only will you have to settle with the bank but your spouse will need to be reimbursed for their portion of the property.  This can be accomplished in most cases by exchanging a retirement or investment account.

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Posted on in Distribution of Assets

Divorcing is one of the most stressful life events a person can go through. According to the American Psychology Association, divorce is one of the major life events that can have serious psychological implications on both parties. Most divorces, of course, come from an already-stressful marriage. With all sorts of new challenges, such as division of property, the dueling couple might feel completely overwhelmed with the idea of separation. If you’re going through a divorce, there are some important Illinois laws regarding division of property to keep in mind.

According to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, in Illinois, "if property was acquired during the marriage there is a presumption that the property is marital." This means that even if the property is solely in your spouse’s name, it’s still considered to be jointly owned. If property was a gift, was acquired before the marriage or after a legal separation, however, it’s not considered to be jointly owned. These, of course, are important exceptions to keep in mind before even considering divorce.

Another important asset division concept pertinent to keep in mind before filing for divorce is the issue of inheritance. If one spouse receives an inheritance during the marriage, if he or she mingles this inheritance in joint funds or invests it in joint property, the inheritance is considered part of the marital estate, and no longer considered individual property.

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