When an Illinois couple is going through a high asset divorce, one of the more complex areas of litigation has to do with the division of assets. Unless the couple has a prenuptial agreement they signed before they were married that clearly spells out what type of divorce settlement they will have, they will need to negotiate one they can both agree on. If they fail to come to an agreement, then the divorce judge overseeing their case will make that decision for them. If you are going through a divorce, having a Chicago, IL high net worth divorce lawyer advocating for you is critical to ensuring your best interests are protected.
What Is Marital Property?
Illinois law defines “marital property” as “all property, including debts and other obligations, acquired by either spouse subsequent to the marriage, except” for nonmarital property. Thus, the key to understanding what constitutes marital property is understanding what constitutes nonmarital property.
The following is considered nonmarital property under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act:
- Property acquired by gift or inheritance
- Property acquired in exchange for property acquired before the marriage
- Property acquired after a judgment of legal separation
- Any property excluded by a valid prenuptial or postnuptial agreement
- Any judgment or property obtained by judgment awarded to a spouse from the other spouse (with some exceptions)
- Most property acquired before the marriage and all property acquired using nonmarital property
- The increase in value of nonmarital property
A high net worth divorce lawyer in Chicago IL can also explain that property acquired after the marriage and before a judgment of dissolution of marriage is presumed marital property.
Equitable Division of Marital Property
Illinois is an equitable division state, which means that marital property is divided fairly rather than equally. In other words, the property is not split 50-50, unless that happens to be the most equitable division. Factors that courts consider in dividing marital property include:
- The duration of the marriage
- Each spouse’s role in the acquisition of marital property and in changes to its value
- The age, health, and needs of each spouse
- Any child custody arrangement
- Whether either spouse has existing obligations from a prior marriage
There are cases where one spouse will attempt to hide assets from the other spouse in order to avoid having those assets become part of the marital estate and part of the divorce negotiations. In these situations, your attorney can hire a forensic accountant who specializes in uncovering this type of fraud. Not only do the courts look unfavorably in this type of behavior, but there are instances where the court will take all those hidden assets and award them to the other spouse.
Reach Out to Us Today for Help
The legal team at Hurst, Robin & Kay, LLC can guide you through the divorce process and help you secure an equitable division of marital property. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with a skilled Chicago, IL high net worth divorce lawyer.