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Plainfield, IL divorce attorney asset division

Society typically focuses on the romantic aspects of marriage. However, the joining of two lives through marriage is not only a romantic union, it is also a legal and financial union. Determining how marital property should be divided between the spouses is often one of the most complicated parts of the divorce process. This is especially true if the spouses own complex assets or have a high net worth. If you are preparing for a divorce in Illinois, it is important to know how certain assets may complicate the process.

Small Businesses

If you or your spouse own a business, this may complicate your divorce significantly. In Illinois, only marital property is divided during a divorce. Separate property, meaning property that a spouse owned before getting married, is not divided. However, it is possible for a business that was acquired before marriage to be “transmuted” or transformed into marital property. If you acquired a company during the marriage or you owned a company before getting married but your spouse contributed time or money into growing the business, he or she may be entitled to an equitable share of the company. Often, a spouse who wishes to retain sole ownership of a business “buys out” the other spouse’s portion of the business by giving up assets of a similar value. Before a business may be divided in a divorce, the identity and the value of the business must be determined.

Certain Assets Are Hard to Value or Fluctuate in Value

Some assets are hard to divide during divorce because determining the value of the asset is difficult. Cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin or Ethereum is an alternative form of payment that has skyrocketed in popularity recently. The value of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies fluctuates dramatically and there are several different methods of determining its value. Retirement plans – especially pensions or defined benefit plans – are often difficult to value as well. Real estate, investments, stocks, and intellectual property may also be hard to value.

Heirlooms and Items of Sentimental Value

Family heirlooms and other property with intangible or sentimental value is another issue that may add contention to an Illinois divorce. These items may not have great worth financially, but they are valuable to a spouse for personal reasons. Dogs, cats, and other pets are often considered beloved members of the family; however, pets are classified as property per Illinois law. Heated arguments over the ownership of pets and other property of personal or sentimental significance are not uncommon during a divorce.

Contact a Joliet Property Division Lawyer

If you or your spouse own complex assets like investments, stocks, businesses, cryptocurrency, retirement accounts, or real estate, it is likely that these assets will complicate property division during your Illinois divorce. A highly skilled Will County divorce attorney from the Law Offices of Tedone & Morton, P.C. can help you negotiate a property division settlement or, if needed, advocate on your behalf during litigation. Call 815-666-1285 or 815-733-5350 to schedule a free consultation.



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Plainfield, IL divorce attorney property division

One of the most important matters that must be resolved in a divorce is the distribution of marital property. When a couple marries, they typically combine their finances – either intentionally or unintentionally. Undoing this financial entanglement is often complex. Spouses may not even be aware of what their property rights are during a divorce. This is why it is important to consult with an experienced divorce attorney if you are legally ending your marriage in Illinois.

Dividing Property Using an Agreement Between the Spouses

You and your spouse can decide how you want to divide your assets without court intervention. You will first need to make a full accounting of all of your assets and debts. You can then negotiate an arrangement for dividing the debts and assets on your own, with help from your respective attorneys, or through an alternative resolution method like mediation. In order for this strategy to work, each spouse must be completely honest about his or her finances. If a spouse hides assets or lies about financial information, the negotiations will be pointless and any arrangement that is decided will be based on false information.

Property Division Through the Courts

If you and your spouse cannot reach an agreement about the division of property, the court will intervene. Illinois courts make property division decisions based on a series of factors that are listed in Illinois law. These factors include but are not limited to:

  • Each spouse’s contributions to the marital estate

  • Non-financial contributions made by a spouse

  • Each spouse’s financial circumstances including his or her employment, income, debts, and more

  • Each spouse’s education, training, employability, and future earning capacity

  • The duration of the marriage

  • Child custody arrangements

  • Any prior agreements such as prenuptial agreements

  • Whether the court will award spousal maintenance to a spouse

  • The tax implications of property division

Illinois adheres to a legal doctrine called equitable distribution when dividing property during a divorce. Only marital property that is acquired during the marriage is divided. Separate or nonmarital property is assigned to the original owner. The amount of property that each spouse receives is equitable, or fair, but it is not always exactly equal.

Contact a Will County Property Division Lawyer

Regardless of where you are in the divorce process, a Joliet, IL divorce attorney from the Law Offices of Tedone & Morton, P.C. can help. Our team has helped countless divorcing spouses understand their rights and responsibilities when it comes to property distribution. We can help you negotiate a property division arrangement, investigate concerns about hidden assets, and, if needed, represent you in court. Call us at our Joliet office at 815-666-1285 or the Plainfield office at 815-733-5350. Schedule a free consultation today.



Joliet, IL divorce attorney division of assets

Although you can make many settlements in a divorce decree such as child support, alimony, and custody, a settlement on the division of assets that includes retirement accounts does not guarantee that the spouse without a retirement account of his or her own will get the payments that he or she is owed. If your spouse was the primary breadwinner and you are trying to ensure that you receive payments from his or her retirement account, you will need a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO, pronounced “quad row”) to make their employer pay you what you are owed. 

Understanding a QDRO

Even if your divorce agreement provides you with a particular portion of your spouse's retirement funds, you may experience some setbacks without a QDRO. For instance, withdrawing funds from a spouse’s retirement account without the protection of a QDRO could result in penalties. You should plan to draft a QDRO in most cases, but if your spouse’s retirement account is not IRS tax-qualified and covered by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, a QDRO is not applicable. Military and government pensions are not IRS tax-qualified, so a QDRO will serve you no purpose in that case. 

How Do I Get a QDRO in Illinois?

Part of why a QDRO can help guarantee that a retirement plan provider complies with your marital separation agreement is that the retirement plan’s plan administrator will be involved during the drafting process. In many instances, your spouse’s retirement plan provider will have standard QDRO forms. If the provisions you need to state are highly detailed and your stakes in your spouse’s retirement plan are significant, you may want to create a QDRO of your own. In either case, working with a skilled divorce attorney will help protect your rights to your fair share.

If your spouse has a defined contribution plan like a 401k, it will be relatively simple for your attorney to determine how those assets should be divided. Pensions and other defined benefit plans are difficult to divide because your attorney will probably need to discover your share of the assets with an actuary’s help. 

Note that retirement assets are treated like other assets: There will be a distinction between marital and non-marital assets. For example, the funds with which your spouse entered your marriage may be considered non-marital property, and they may not be subject to division. 

The timing, frequency, and quantity of your payments will depend on your spouse’s retirement plan’s nature. Either the plan provider or your attorney can help you make sense of the details in your case.

Contact a Plainfield, IL Asset Division Lawyer

Dividing assets during divorce can be complicated depending on the amount of savings and the type of plan. Still, you can better understand how your and your spouse’s retirement assets will be distributed with the help of a Will County divorce attorney. At the Law Offices of Tedone & Morton, P.C., we pride ourselves on the years of experience we have in helping our clients fight for their fair share of the marital assets during a divorce. To learn more about how we can help you, call our Joliet office at 815-666-1285 or our Plainfield office at 815-733-5350 to schedule your free consultation.



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family-businessWhen two people get married, they do not anticipate a divorce. Similarly, business partners do not embark on a business venture with the belief that it will fail. When spouses become business partners and go through a divorce, finances can become very complicated.

Illinois Property Division Law

Under the Illinois property division law, there is tangible and intangible property. Real estate is an example of tangible property while retirement funds, stocks, and business equity are considered intangible property. Both tangible and intangible property is viewed as either separate property or marital property. Anything that each spouse acquired before marriage is classified as separate property. Marital property, however, includes income, assets, debt, equity, and anything else a couple acquired during their marriage. It is important to understand that even if an asset is in one spouse's name, it is considered marital property because it was acquired when the couple was married and could benefit both individuals.

Business Valuation in Illinois

If one spouse received equity in a business while they were married, the other would still be entitled to a share of the business. In the event the spouses were business partners, determining who deserves the business as well as all the income, assets, and debts associated with it becomes tricky. Fortunately, many couples have buy-out clauses in their business documents or prenuptial agreements that make this decision far easier. If a couple does not have any of these in place, shareholders may allow one spouse to buy out the other. However, this is only a viable solution if one spouse is willing to leave the business.

If both spouses would like to continue to be involved in the business, the future and survival of the business will dictate what happens. Sometimes, ex-spouse will decide that their business is their top priority and will continue to manage it together.

To make the right decision for yourself and your business, you should get a business valuation that provides information regarding:
  • What your business is currently worth;
  • How much your business will earn in the future;
  • Debt realization;
  • Inventory; and
  • The financial interest in the business of each spouse.

Contact Our Plainfield Divorce Lawyers

We understand how difficult it can be to end a marriage and potentially lose a business. If you and your soon to be ex-spouse are business partners, it is essential that you reach out to our experienced Plainfield divorce lawyers at 815-666-1285 for a consultation.


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hidden-assetsWhen the process of divorce begins, many people will attempt to hold on to what they consider their own money. Believe it or not, some even have bank accounts and engage in financial activities that their spouse is not aware of. If you would like to ensure you receive a fair divorce settlement, it is essential to expose any hidden assets. Here are some tips on where to look for hidden assets during a divorce.

Tax Returns

Since hiding income from the IRS can lead to serious penalties such as hefty fines and even prison, most people do not hide their income. If possible, closely examine tax returns from the past five years to search for any income inconsistencies, trusts, or real estate holdings.

Checking Account Statements and Canceled Checks

If there is a canceled check for a purchase you were unaware of, there will be a significant difference in the total assets divided. If possible, obtain copies of all financial accounts and keep a close eye on checking account statements and canceled checks.

Savings Accounts

Take a close look at any savings accounts and determine whether there are any unusual deposits or withdrawals. They may mean your spouse is hiding an asset such a dividend.

The Courthouse

If your soon to be ex-spouse borrowed money from a mortgage company or bank, you can receive a copy of their loan application from the courthouse. Their loan application will reveal all of their assets and estimated values and can give you a clear idea of what they are worth.

The County Auditor

The county auditor will have information related to any money that your soon to be ex may have taken from savings accounts and used to purchase real estate. You will be able to easily find any homes or land they own as well as the address and taxable value of each.

Lifestyle Analysis

Consider the lifestyle of your soon to be ex-partner. Does their income match the type of clothing they wear, the car they drive, and activities they participate in? If you believe their lifestyle is more lavish than their reported income could support, they may be hiding assets from you.

Contact Our Plainfield Divorce Lawyers

Although our Plainfield divorce lawyers can help you search for hidden assets, you should take a proactive role in looking for them. To ensure your rights are protected during your divorce case, we encourage you to contact our highly skilled Plainfield divorce lawyers at 815-666-1285 for a consultation.


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